Letter to the Editor reply to Ian Miller

Dear Editor,

map of Flamingo Land latest application

A map of the area of Loch Lomondside for which Flamingo Land have applied to the Loch Lomond Park Authority for planning permission.

While I respect it is Ian Miller’s absolute right to support the Flamingo Land proposal for Balloch and to speak in supportive tones for B&HCC, I feel I must reply to his letter from 27th Nov 2018, hopefully to give the readers a more detailed insight regarding Mr Perrie’s protest and what B&HCC have been seen to be doing regarding the Flamingo Land proposal.

In the first instance let me say here I’m sure B&HCC have, and continue to do, much to enhance and promote Balloch as a place to live and also as a tourist destination. Now they are faced with a potential multi-million-pound investment for the Balloch area, I fear their they may be out of their depth and making the wrong call for the residents.

Perrie SidYou state you do not know Mr Perrie, pictured right, I am sure many readers here do not know Ian Miller and would question your support of Flamingo Land and B&HCC. I will expand on that statement and present some facts on Mr Perrie’ protest and on B&HCC.

Ian Miller writes that the ‘geographical remit of the Community Council stretches wider than Balloch Road and Drumkinnon Gate’ To say that is patronising in the extreme, and infers that all objections to the Flamingo Land proposal are centred around this small geographical area. Really. Can I point him in the direction of the petitions with literally tens of thousands signatures against Flamingo Land? The ‘objectors’ Ian Miller refers to were signatures collected in order to force an extraordinary meeting of B&HCC. This require 20 plus residents, living within the boundaries of B&HHCC, to sign a letter. This was carried out by Mr Perrie, who concentrated on the residents surrounding his own house. He collected these signatures by knocking on doors, walking around in the process.

B&HCC have not attempted to ‘ascertain, coordinate and express the views’ of residents. I would argue this is true. Ian Miller seems slightly obsessed about the number of people who attended the public meeting. The very meeting, that B&HCC were forced into attending, after an online petition was presented to them, requesting such. The very meeting that representatives from WDC, Scottish Enterprise and LL&TNP refused to attend.

The allegation of lack of public consultation is largely a correct one. Also, Ian Miller is correct, there were three presentations, organised and largely presented by members from Iconic Leisure. I know, I attended two of these meetings. The representatives were keen to ‘sell’ the proposal, but were quick to point out that the plans on show were not definitive, and could, and would likely change. For Ian Miller, to then quote figures from a survey allegedly supporting the proposal, when presenting suppositions rather than hard facts, is plainly ridiculous. Does Brexit come to mind?

Miller the Rev IanBy his own admission, Ian Miller, pictured left,  states he does not attend B&HCC meetings. I have now attended a number of these, and unlike Ian Miller, I do not know any of the councillors in any capacity, other than being a viewing member of the public, who has occasionally commented on Flamingo Land. I admire his supportive comments for his nine friends who sit on the committee, and likewise, I would be happy to give a reference to any of my friends. But the issues against B&HCC are not targeted at his ‘friends’ or indeed against any individual who sit on B&HCC. Maybe it was his friends who spoke to the Daily Record two years ago, supporting the Flamingo Land proposal. Almost exactly a year before the public were given any details. Perhaps it was his friend who made an outdated racist remark at a CC meeting, resulting in a complaint being submitted to WDC and a statement of apology and retraction being read out to the committee, with a senior member from WDC witnessing. Or maybe it was one of his impartially minded friends on the CC who posted on a community Face Book site, a link advertising and endorsing Flamingo Land.

I admire Ian Miller’s support for his nine friends on B&HCC, but let’s not cloud the issue here. As an objector to the Flamingo Land proposal I have spoken with many people. A large number of them have an increasing frustration around the conduct of B&HHC regarding Flamingo Land. What they see as an organisation, whose primary purpose, is to support and reflect public opinion, seems to be ignoring the concerns from a large number of Balloch residents. I do not regard these concerns as individuals questioning the principles of CC members or questioning any members record of service.

Gerry Edwardson

Leave a Reply