INVESTIGATION: NICK KEMPE ASKS VITAL QUESTIONS

Why was Park Authority land included in the Flamingo Land application?


The land owned by the LLTNPA on the Riverside site is marked in red, that they lease from Scottish Enterprise marked in blue.
 

Investigation by Nick Kempe, of PARKSWATCH SCOTLAND

Kempe Nick 12A month after the Flamingo Land Planning Application was withdrawn on 17th September (see here), I submitted an information request to clarify further the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park Authority Board’s involvement in the whole process.  EIR 2019-022 Response arrived a couple of weeks ago.  It provides several insights into the Flamingo Land Planning debacle, the most important of which is about the land owned by the National Park which was included in the Planning Application.

Board and staff responsibility for the Flamingo Land Planning Application

I had wondered whether Board Members might have been briefed at various times about the Flamingo Land Planning Application.  The Information Response and emails provided as an Appendix (see here)  show they weren’t – at least not formally and not in writing.

While I am still generally sceptical about what the LLTNPA Board does because of its terrible record of taking decisions in secret (13 meetings about the camping byelaws before they were approved) these emails do appear to reflect levels of Board involvement.   I have heard elsewhere a Board Member say they were NOT allowed to say anything about the Flamingo Land Planning Application in case this prejudiced the decision.  Effectively staff have told them to be silent – the emails which tell Board Members to refer any enquiries about the Application to staff re-inforce this.  This perhaps explain why Board Members never raised any of the obvious public interest questions about the inclusion of the Park’s own land in the Planning Application.

What all this tells you I believe is that the entire responsibility for addressing issues with Scottish Enterprise and Flamingo Land, including their plans for the land owned and leased by the LLTNPA, lay with senior staff.

Aftermath of the application being withdrawn

The emails reveal that  Flamingo Land and Scottish Enterprise didn’t even bother to let LLTNPA staff know they were withdrawing the application before putting out a news release.  After all LLTNPA staff had done to smooth the way application, Stuart Mearns’ frustration is palpable.  Its not nice to be treated like a second class citizen of no importance.   Perhaps this will encourage LLTNPA staff to be less accommodating to Scottish Enterprise and Flamingo Land next time?

What needs to happen?

The LLTNPA Board must sort out how its going to decide in future about whether or how its land might be included in private sector developments.  While anyone can submit a private application, the need for the LLTNPA Board to take a stance on this should be obvious: what will happen if a group of people decide to submit an alternative application?  Or is it just first served?  Any decision making process on such land, whether at Tarbet or Balloch, must be based on public consultation and engagement about how the wider public would like to see the LLTNPA use the land it owns. The wider issue, however, is about how the Scottish Government is still allowing public land to be disposed of by the back door, with no real public consultation and without local communities being given any proper chance to take them over.    That’s a Scotland wide issue.  There area also specific questions about why the Scottish Government is allowing nationally owned land to be sold off in National Parks (see here for Ewich Forest at Crianlarich).  It’s time to raise questions about public ownership of land:  does the Scottish Government believe that flogging off public assets or allowing them to be used by commercial concerns without any consideration of the public interest is really what Scotland should be all about?

2 comments

  1. Nick’s work on the NP is highly recommended. The NP Board members would be doing everyone a favour if they read it closely. I don’t know to what extent NP staff are telling Board members to to quiet about Planning Applications. I did raise the Flamingo Land Application with Diane Docherty and received no acknowledgement. With WDC C,lllors I have always found SNP and Labour to be ignorant and insulting time-wasters on planning issues. Only Jim Bollan knows what the job is in these respects. I also contacted my MSP Gil Paterson. Following numerous ill-informed exchanges with his staff who couldn’t spell “planning” I contacted Ken McIntosh my Regional MSP to see if there was a breach in the code of conduct. He replied, saying it was at the MSP’s own discretion whether they responded to letters about planning applications or not. He was sorry about my “frustrations” about the land use planning system. That’s an understatement, as Bill Heaney and Lennox Herald readers well know, following decades of Letters To The Editor. Even after winning 2 Public Planning Inquiries the rule of thumb is treat members of the public with complete and utter contempt. Unlike others, I was brought up to tell the truth without fear or favour. You bet I am not popular with the lying thieving scum of the earth around here.

    You cannot know how the planning system works without following the capitalist money….economics and politics. If you look at planning law you will find, on close inspection, the purpose is for THE PUBLIC BENEFIT. That has been subverted in assorted policy provisions. Now it’s largely PRIVATE SECTOR ECONOMIC GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT. That’s why the PUBLIC CONSULTATIONS have become infested with business studies cheerleaders who are gaming the system in pursuit of their PRIVATE INTERESTS and a certain brand of Neo-Liberal politics. That is why this FLAMINGO LAND development is so important to understand…because it reveals how the planning system exists in terms of CLASS CONFLICT…a struggle between our ruling class oppressors and the working class oppressed who successfully defended the working class interest and the public interest and provided the RESISTANCE in this case. This is called THE ECONOMICS OF RESISTANCE. That is the world we live in. It’s baked in with our existence and the social environment we’ve inherited and live in.

    Nothing speaks of the value of land and land use planning more than banking and finance capital. Land is capital to a Neo-Liberal economist. But the ruling class have never acted as these Neo-Liberal “individuals.” They have always been team players and always sought to harness the will of wage labour especially in order to maximise their profits and externalise and trade off their costs. The upper echelons of the ruling class are a white collar crime wave the likes of which has never been seen before in human history. These people do not get their power and control because of WHO they are as individuals….it’s because the have inherited a system that provides for their ruling class interests…CAPITALISM. That is what capitalists do….they accumulate capital and that is the measure of their success by capitalist standards. You already know them. They are the greatest liars, thieves and killers on the planet.

    https://youtu.be/PFF4HT3cJW4

  2. You make many good points which, if not worth supporting, certainly value giving consideration to. However, can you tone down the language a bit and make your letters a bit shorter, James? I understand your frustration. Editor

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