The last detailed plan to emerge from the Flamingo Land saga.
By Democrat reporter
STV News is reporting that plans for a £30m Flamingo Land development on the shores of Loch Lomond will most likely be scrapped by the national park’s board.
The controversial Lomond Banks development – a joint venture between theme park operator Flamingo Land and Scottish Enterprise – includes plans for a hotel, hostel, restaurants, craft brewery, boat house, leisure centre and six private houses in the Balloch area.
In June, West Dunbartonshire councillors unanimously rejected the tourist development following more than 57,000 objections.
However, the final decision will be made by the board of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park.
On Thursday, a report by the director of rural development and planning at the national park was published and recommended for the board to refuse the planning permission in principle.
The report was made available following “a detailed assessment, and consideration, against key documents, policies and statutory requirements”.
It concluded that two key elements of the application – proposals in Drumkinnon Wood and at the Pierhead area – would result in “significant unacceptable impacts on the landscape, visual amenity, and trees and woodland”.
As a result, the proposed development would “adversely affect the area’s built heritage and the enjoyment of the Pierhead area by both visitors and locals”.
The report added that the application did not comply with the local development plan for the park and presented a conflict between its aim “to conserve and enhance the natural and cultural heritage of the area” and its other aim “to promote the sustainable economic and social development of the area’s communities”.
The park’s board will consider the report at a special meeting, which will be held in public, on Tuesday, September 24. They will then decide whether to approve or refuse the application
It has been estimated that the development would create 80 full-time jobs, 50 part-time jobs and 70 seasonal roles in the area.
A Save Loch Lomond petition was set up in response to the resort, with the campaign group arguing the need to preserve the national park for future generations.
Led by Scottish Greens MSP Ross Greer, the petition generated 57,032 formal objections to the plans.
Mr Greer branded it the “most unpopular planning application in Scottish history”.
Responding to the recommendation on Thursday, Mr Greer said: “This is a monumental victory for our community campaign to save Loch Lomond from these destructive proposals and to keep this huge chunk of our national park in public hands.
“I am delighted that officials have recognised the avalanche of objections from residents and people across Scotland who value their publicly-owned national park.
“A glance at the plans shows quite clearly why anger is so widespread. Their proposals admit the development will result in injury and death to red squirrels and otters, pollute running and standing water and damage ancient woodland.
“The park board must now acknowledge what their own officials, the public and the local authority have told them about the potential impact of this development.
“To grant permission now would be to put the interests of big business ahead of the public and the world-famous environment and wildlife of the loch.
“It’s time to reject Flamingo Land once and for all.”
Dumbarton’s MSP Jackie Baillie said: “Given the vast number of people opposed to the Flamingo Land development, it is welcome news that planning officers from Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park have recommended that the application is refused.
“For months I have had a stream of letters and emails from concerned constituents who have raised a number of issues with the proposed development.
“It is clear that the local community has not been the priority of the developer and there are concerns that the development would negatively impact on the local economy as well.
“I hope that the board of the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park will heed the advice given by their planning officers when they vote on the application at the end of September.”