A leisure park by any other name is not wanted in traffic choked Balloch
By Bill Heaney
West Dunbartonshire Council is taking it in the neck over the new company name and updated plan for the £30 million leisure development at Balloch.
The company who are now pursuing their planning goals for the controversial development formerly called Flamingo Land are now calling themselves Lomond Banks.
And from papers connected with the newly drafted list of proposals, it appears that another name, Iconic Leisure, never existed.
Jen Christie told social media, tongue in cheek: “I think it’s a great investment for the area. The A82 always has been terrible on sunny days as far back as I can remember and well before Lomond Shores was opened. The A82 Lochside [road] simply cannot cope with the sheer volume of traffic it is seeing now.”
Pauline Sweeney said: “You would think we didn’t have climate change issues!? I mean increase traffic – check; cut down trees – check; unnecessary construction – check; removal of natural habitat – check; and increased water pollution – check. Epic plan West Dunbartonshire Council.”
However, the Council is not the planning authority for the area where Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park Authority will make the decision on whether Lomond Banks goes ahead.
Or else it could be called in for final approval or rejection by the Scottish Government.
The Council does have a say though and Cllr Jonathan McColl, leader of the SNP/Tory administration, said first of all that he was for it.
Then, after witnessing the depth of feeling at a meeting of Balloch and Haldane Community Council in Alexandria North Parish Church, Cllr McColl did a U-turn and said he was against it.
Needless to say, the local public are confused as to what the SNP/Tory position is.
Kate Doherty said: “You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs – check.”
And Pauline Sweeney jumped straight back in: “You can’t reason with folk if they think entertainment and economic growth are more important than life and protecting futures.”
Danielle Donnachie agreed: “I am all for making improvements and creating jobs. Living in the local area and seeing daily how bad it can be, this is not what’s needed and will make the situation worse.
“It’s already bad enough with the hospital being chipped away bit by bit, I fear what’ll be with another fatal accident. Cameron house fire was bad enough. Not to mention the environmental impact.”
Martin Milligan said: “This development just goes to show that they [the planners] value it more than life itself. Money talks sadly.”
Ian Boag said that as a train driver he witnessed what went before when the trains were jam packed and multiple instances of fighting, drunkenness and disturbances. I feel sorry for families and tourists who witness this on hot days.”
Karen McCarthy complained: “The whole shire was gridlocked all weekend. It’s a shambles.”
Steven Nixon expressed the view that “we definitely need more than one road in and out of Dumbarton” and was supported by Alan Hill Re roads congestion: “The stretch between Balloch and Arden really should be dualled with priority lanes at Arden. It’s been a nightmare for years.
“As for the Bowling/Milton stretch [across the old Esso tank farm site] the terrain doesn’t give many options, but something needs done. This should be given higher priority than a wee horses’ field for sure.”
He added: “[What we need is] just sensible road planning for the traffic volumes, bottlenecks and directions of congestion. We’re not going to stop people driving, so something else must be considered.”
Louise Robertson said: “This is just so wrong in every way. Bad for the environment, exploiting workers, no infrastructure, no hospital A&E, tens of thousands of local people opposing it while the developers and money men, who don’t even live here, will be laughing all the way to the bank.”
Unite trade union official Margaret Wood said: “It is taking Balloch from the masses and keeping it for the few that can afford it.
“For years Balloch has been a place where people from Glasgow and further afield could come with their kids on the train and spend a fa