By Bill Heaney
Maybes aye, maybes naw. The Flamingo Land project may yet fly in Balloch, Loch Lomondside, where a second round of consultation is set to be launched next month before the plan is submitted in late February 2022.
The company, which was met with a record number of objections and a campaign against its initial planning application, which was supported by Ross Greer, the Green Party MSP, and activists attached to the Save Lomond campaign, was told by West Dunbartonshire Council that it was not on.
And this week a project manager on the Lomond Banks development team admitted they got it all wrong when they submitted their plans initially.
Gary McGregor told a virtual consultation event held on Zoom this month that this has forced “some pretty substantial changes” as they prepare to submit a fresh £40 million plan to Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park.
Mr McGregor said: “We are planning to be the most sustainable development of its kind in Scotland. We’ve had a go at this in 2017. We wholly admit we didn’t get the public consultation correct, we didn’t get the proposals correct and we have made some pretty substantial changes as a result.”
He promised there would be no development at Drumkinnon Woods included in their plan this time – ““We have substantially reduced the building to the Pierhead area. Woodbank House, we are looking at an alternative proposal similar to the theme previously but less development on Woodbank House.”
One of the main issues raised was around road congestion on the A82, particularly on Alexandria by-pass and the Stoneymollan roundabout – which was a major factor in West Dunbartonshire Council objecting to the plans first time around.
Lomond Banks said talks were ongoing with both West Dunbartonshire Council, Transport Scotland and bus and train providers – “It’s something that the team are working on at the minute.”
It was revealed that annual expenditure in the local economy by new visitors has been estimated at £7.2million and they said the company were conscious of being a “good neighbour” and would factor that into provision of the likes of bins and public toilets.
Cllr Jonathan McColl, leader of the SNP administration on the Council, was initially for and then against. He refuses to tell The Democrat what his position on this is now.
Winners – the protesters against the Drumkinnon Bay development proposed by Flamingo Land have succeeded in having the plans dropped.