Uninviting – the Flamingo Land reception at Malton, North Yoprkshire.

By Bill Heaney

People often say you can’t believe a word you read on social media, but what about the photographs that appear there?

If a picture is worth a thousand words and the camera never lies then the proposed Flamingo Land leisure development in Balloch, Loch Lomondside, is in dire trouble with its image.

Although Flamingo Land bosses Gordon Gibb and Andy Miller have stressed time and again that the planning application for Balloch to go forward to the planning committee of the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park next month is for a hotel and a prestigious visitor resort, photographs just published on Facebook by coach driver Ian Lawson do not present a pretty picture of their existing venture at Malton,  in North Yorkshire.

Commenting on the photographs on social media, people who claim to have been there and seen it, such as Annie Bell, have panned it.

She wrote: “Just as I remember. Dirty, dirty and an eyesore.”

Flamingo Land’s main players Gordon Gibb and Andy Miller, the plan for the Drumkinnon Bay site and some pictures from the Flamingo Land park in Malton, Yorkshire.

Coach driver Lawson replied: “Annie Bell, yup, I’m a coach driver and I hate coming here! Kids being sick after eating rubbish all day and mess everywhere on the floor after they have gone.”

Lou Rintoul added: “And that’s just your coach. Imagine that mess x10 and some.”

And Margaret Pittam said: “[It’s] a pure dump.”

Margaret Drain chimed in, in similar vein: “[It’s] disgusting looking. I get your point. Save Loch Lomond. Absolutely.”

Tongue firmly in her cheek, Fiona Campbell said: “Wow! I must check my diary to see when I can visit.”

Followed by Francis Jack, who wrote: “Sad place for people needing told ‘You will enjoy this!’”

Other comments from people who saw the Arrivals hut and the Checkpoint included one from Janice Rae who said it looked “dismal” and Lou Rintoul, who described the place as “quality family resort…not”.

Former SNP representative, James Cormack, wrote: “Please note that I am on another site where a number of individuals are trying to promote the dead duck that is Flamingoland (or Lomond Banks as it is laughably now known).”

Mr Cormack added: “I have repeatedly asked why Scottish Enterprise made a secret deal with the FL developer to sell land (65 acres) for only £200,000.”

Betsy Milcairns pointed out that the £200,000 Flamingo Land had been asked to pay had already been spent for the developer’s benefit.

She added: “Scottish Enterprise will use the community’s money for all surveys carried out on the land and also murmurs on upgrading of roads etc.”

Mr Cormack said a lot of promises had been made but the truth of the matter was that Flamingo Land would have to go a long way to match the 57,000 signatures that were gathered for the petition against the development.

Two objectors, Mac Karren and Sam Payton, went as far as to say that the Yorkshire fairground and theme park looked “like one of those dodgy horror movie sets”.

Fiona Campbell rounded off her criticism when she wrote: “Three years on, we look at the strange legacy of Banksy’s Dismaland.”

Save Loch Lomond campaigner Alannah Maurer said she has spoken to the planning department at the National Park and been informed that the meeting is to be held on Tuesday, September 24, in Alexandria Parish Church (the White Church) — but no timings are yet available.

The meeting is expected to last all day since it will transition into a board meeting.

Lu Rintoul said this was “typical. So must people will be at work and can’t attend!”

Ross Greer, the Green MSP who has been prominent supporting the Save Loch Lomond campaign, said: “Yes, should be all day. I’m waiting for a reply to the letter I sent last week with a bunch of questions about the format.

“Judging by their statement yesterday, they still haven’t decided on the details yet. The public hearing will transition into a board meeting so I would expect it to be a long day.”

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