Flamingo Land sales director Andy Miller, pictures of the proposed site and a group protesting against planning permission for the development.
By Bill Heaney
Public access to the Loch Lomond’s shore at Balloch will be discouraged – and most probably denied – if Flamingo Land is given planning permission for its £30 million hotel and leisure complex by the Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park Authority planning committee when it convenes on Tuesday, September 24.
Responses to Freedom of Information requests from the Save Loch Lomond protest group clearly indicate this will happen, despite the fact that Flamingo Land’s sales director, Andy Miller, has given public assurances to the contrary.
However, like so much in this controversial, deeply contentious saga, the detail of the planning application keeps changing as D for Decision Day comes ever closer.
Alannah Maurer, of Save Loch Lomond, said today that it seems Councillor Jim Bollan of the Community Party was right to challenge Sales Director Andy Miller of Flamingo Land/Iconic Leisure/Lomond Banks at the WDC briefing meeting.
Cllr Bollan was concerned as to what extent would the public have unfettered access to the public land if it were to be developed by Flamingo Land.
“Nothing will be blocked off,” Mr Miller said. “There will be no wall, no fence. Effectively, if you really wanted to walk up to the front door of a lodge, you could do it. We want to let people enjoy what they already enjoy. (Glasgow Herald – June 2019)
“But it seems Flamingo Land don’t want to ‘encourage’ the public walking close to the lodges in either Drumkinnon Woods or on the West Riverside site as we found out from reading through the emails released via FOI.”
She added: “This screenshot is taken from an email/letter from Vivienne Emery Planning Officer of the National Park to Mark Johnson of Peter Brett Associates (2018)
“Now, of course Flamingo Land could well have ‘adjusted’ their stance on public access since this correspondence…but yet again we get a glimpse of how this company does business and how they intend to treat the public in the area they plan to build their flagship.
“They call the [local] boat owners ‘scruffs’ in a correspondence with the local MSP and their CEO sends threats [of legal action] to a local Councillor. They insult those who oppose the loss of public land by suggesting they don’t know what they are objecting to.
“And their Sales Director continually accuses our campaign of ‘misleading’ the public, of using ‘sensationalism’ by calling our campaign Save Loch Lomond.”
Annie Bell referred Alannah Maurer to a BBC documentary The Battle for Scotland’s Countryside, which was screened on Wednesday, March 14, 2018, and presented by the actor, David Hayman.
Nick Kempe of Parkswatch Scotland said those in power now try to call the right to roman the “right of responsible access” – but the truth was that it applied to ALL of Scotland.
He added: “However, the National Park Authority used its powers to create byelaws under the National Parks Act, which pre-dated the Land Reform Act, to effectively remove the right to camp from those access rights in the National Park.
“The National Park Authority, which acts as the statutory access authority for the National Park, has not been effective at upholding the law as set out in the Land Reform Act.
“A current example is at Arrochar, where the Park allowed Forest Enterprise/Forestry and Land Scotland to close the Tarbet Loop core path for forest felling without following the right procedures.
“The removal of access right also takes place through privatisation and development of land, as is proposed at the Riverside site. Despite all their protests otherwise, Flamingo Land will effectively remove access rights from what is now open space at Balloch which is there for people to enjoy.”