Jackie Baillie, PICTURED, has demanded that residents’ concerns are taken into account in considering whether to grant planning permission to Lomond Banks for their planned development at West Riverside.
The Dumbarton MSP carried out a survey of 3200 local residents in the Balloch, Haldane, Tullichewan, Levenvale and Jamestown areas to gain the community’s views on the plans.
Although two thirds of respondents said they were opposed to the plans, even those who backed the development said they had concerns over the impact on local roads if the £40 million holiday park was to be given the go-ahead.
Jackie Baillie is urging the developers to work with Transport Scotland and West Dunbartonshire Council to come up with a solution which will reduce the impact of the traffic on local routes before planning permission is considered.
In total, of those who responded, 68 percent were against the development being allowed to go ahead with 31 percent in favour and one percent failing to indicate a preference.
The Dumbarton constituency MSP wants to ensure that Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park and, in particular, the area around Balloch can flourish and attract visitors while being able to cope with the influx. But she believes the overriding factor in the planning determination must be to ensure any development is the right one for the area and its residents.
With only 34 percent of respondents believing that Lomond Banks would have a positive impact on local businesses and only 31 percent believing that the benefit from additional jobs would outweigh any disadvantages, Ms Baillie believes it is imperative that Lomond Banks needs to engage more with local businesses before planning permission is granted. Local firms must be involved in the construction phase and ongoing supply chain if the application is successful. She is also urging Lomond Banks to guarantee that they will recruit locally and provide sustainable, well-paid positions if they are granted planning permission for the development.
Jackie Baillie said: “These responses clearly set out that there is still a long way to go to allay the concerns which residents raised during Lomond Banks’ first attempt to gain planning permission for a development on this site back in 2019.
“While I recognise that the focus has moved away from Drumkinnon Wood, there are still almost as many units as there were in the previous application and the scale of the project remains of concern to local people.
“Local people are clearly worried about the effect a development of this scale will have on nearby roads with residents already fed up with the area being clogged up with cars on any given sunny day around Balloch. People here are ready and willing to welcome visitors but they should also have the freedom to go about their daily lives without fear of being stuck in traffic for hours.
“This has a knock-on effect on people having to travel to hospital whether for a routine appointment or in an emergency.
“Transport Scotland and West Dunbartonshire Council must consider the lived experience of horrendous traffic problems when visitors come to Balloch on sunny days. Simply adding this development to the local infrastructure will not work.
“Everyone around Loch Lomond wants to see the area flourish and businesses recover from the Covid pandemic. It is right that we should be trying to capitalise on the visitors to our area for the sake of the local economy. We need developments that bring good quality, well-paid jobs for local people. We need any potential developer to provide a cast iron guarantee that they will do that.
“The main focus must be on the right development for the area. Lomond Banks have to provide robust responses to these concerns which are not new. They were there three years ago and they remain now.
“I am clear that local voices must be at the heart of any decisions which are taken regarding the West Riverside site.”