Philantropist Sir Tom Hunter’s Loch Lomond plans to be decided on Monday

Conservative councillor Sally Page and Ross Priory from the Loch.

Pictures by Bill Heaney

By Bill Heaney

Serious concern has been expressed by Conservative councillor Sally Page about over development on both banks of Loch Lomondside – at Ross Priory and Ardlui.

A decision on plans for a new “leadership centre” on the shores of Loch Lomond is set to be made this Monday.

The plans by the Hunter Foundation were lodged with the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority in March.

A decision is expected to be made by the authority’s planning committee on Monday, November 23, and in a report out this week, planning officials recommended that the application be approved.

Concern has been raised by lochside residents at the proposals, for a site in the grounds of Ross Priory in Gartocharn, while the local community council and West Dunbartonshire ward councillor Sally Page have lodged objections.

Helensburgh Advertiser:

Artist’s impression of the proposed leadership centre at Ross Priory, Loch Lomond.

Objectors’ concerns relate mostly to the potential impact the new buildings will have on the surrounding environment and nearby wildlife.

When the plans were first lodged, fears were also raised around the potential for sewage discharge into the loch, though it is now understood that a compromise has been reached, with effluent set to be rerouted to the sewage works in Gartocharn.

Councillor Page said she was concerned at the number of projected major developments around Loch Lomond – including the Flamingo Land plans for the West Riverside/Woodbank House site in Balloch, which were withdrawn last year, and outline proposals for a tourism-led scheme in Tarbet, led by Optical Express founder David Moulsdale.

She said: “I’m worried about the environment – I feel it is quite ironic that we are hosting the COP 26 in Glasgow next year, and yet we’ve got these proposals for major developments all around Loch Lomond.

“West Dunbartonshire Council oversees responsibility for the Balloch and Ardlui outdoor sports centres – both of which are currently vacant and would make wonderful leadership centres. There are other options.”

So far as the Ardlui Centre is concerned there has been unlicensed tree felling on a grand scale there for the Optical Express boss’s site and West Dunbartonshire Council, according to Alexandria councillor Jim Bollan, is still forking out £65,000 a year for interest payments on the building despite the fact that is has been closed.

Helensburgh Advertiser:

 Foundation defends its leadership centre plans for site on the shores of Loch Lomond.

Meanwhile Gavin McLellan, in a letter to local government and SNP planning minister Kevin Stewart, pictured below right, on behalf of Kilmaronock Community Council, said: “Ross Priory is a category A listed building, is located on a prominent site on the banks of Loch Lomond and lies within a designated garden and designed landscape.

“It is surprising that an application for this sensitive site on the shores of Loch Lomond has not been the subject of an Environmental Impact Assessment before the consultation process.

“The planning authority has allowed the applicant to progress with the application even though it goes against the prime principle of the National Park, to conserve and enhance the natural and cultural heritage.”

In their submission to the authority, the Friends of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs said they had originally had concerns about sewage discharge, but these had been dispelled by a pledge from the developer to “invest an additional £700,000 in connecting the development to the main sewage system”.


  1. Before any major development takes place around Loch Lomond, is the priority not to get the A82 up to a standard that can take any upsurge in traffic. Also upgrade Vale of Leven Hospital back to A&E to that the 20/30mile dash to a hospital in another region is required

  2. There’s big money to be made in property development around the loch. And big money talks.

    That the Scottish Government wanted to sell the ‘ worthless ‘ land around Balloch to property developer Gordon Gibb for a secret undisclosed but understood to be chicken feed sum, one gets the picture.

    But the development of a ‘ Bearden on the Loch ‘ at Tarbet is another example again. Yes, yes yes, big money does talk. So fair play to all those who stand against the rape of our Iconic natural heritage.

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