By Nick Kempe
On Friday the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park issued a Stop Notice to prevent further work taking place on the creation of this new entrance onto the A811 on the south side of Loch Lomond .
Kilmaronock Community Council, which covers the area, had alerted them to the work a few days before. If this was the first that LLTNPA officials knew of the work (Chief Executive Gordon Watson lives in nearby Gartocharn) they took prompt action. That is extremely welcome.
The contrast with the time it took for the LLTNPA to take enforcement action against the new entrance that Moulsdale Properties Ltd created off the A82 across Loch Lomond at Tarbet is striking (see here).
Formally alerted on 20th April, the LLTNPA was still conducting “investigations” when Forestry Scotland issued a notice to stop the tree felling on 8th May. Forestry Scotland did take immediate action when alerted but in the time the LLTNPA was “investigating”, Moulsdale Properties more or less appear to have completed the work. The LLTNPA has subsequently taken out Tree Preservation Orders, too late, and encouraged a retrospective application for planning permission (see here).
Perhaps what had happened at Tarbet inspired the owner of the site, which has been branded as “Little America”, to go ahead with a development which they conceived over ten years ago (see here)?
Whatever the explanation, the LLTNPA has been clear about their position in planning terms and they have also been prepared to alert the public to what is going on:
“The engineering work has created an unauthorised access leading to one of a number of plots of land which are part of a wider area of land that has been divided into small plots that are being marketed as having development potential. This is despite the plots not being identified as suitable for development in the National Park Authority’s Local Development Plan and development being unlikely to receive planning permission.”
Actually, the plots are up for sale with an auction planned for 21st August. It appears that the new entrance and the related works may have been undertaken as part of an attempt to convince gullible members of the public that these plots has a reasonable chance of obtaining planning permission:
If this type of marketing is not illegal, it should be. One would hope that as well as alerting the public, the LLTNPA has informed Trading Standards of its position.
It would be even more re-assuring for local residents in Gartocharn to have heard that the unlawful work would be “extremely unlikely to receive planning permission” and it remains to be seen whether the LLTNPA use their planning powers to force the developer to restore the site. That is needed if the public are to have any confidence in the planning system in the National Park. But, so far, the response from the LLTNPA appears robust in planning terms and that sets a welcome precedent.