By Bill Heaney
Balloch and Haldane Community Council have decided to support the Flamingoland planning application to develop their holiday accommodation and leisure plan for Balloch on the southern shore of Loch Lomond.
This decision goes against the 74 per cent of residents of the area who voted against the Flamingo land application in their own survey.
Green Party MSP Ross Greer who has battled against the plan since its inception said: “This survey is yet more evidence of the community’s overwhelming opposition to Flamingo Land’s destructive plans for Loch Lomond.
“It echoes a similar survey conducted a few months ago and of course, the record 60,000 objections lodged against the first application and the 32,000 two thousand and counting lodged against this second attempt.
“I’m frankly stunned that members of the community council have decided to ignore the clear strength of feeling in the community and instead take the side of a greedy developer only interested in squeezing every last drop of profit out of our beautiful national park. Flamingo Land’s plans are far too big, would generate unacceptable levels of additional traffic and result in the loss too many trees in an area of precious ancient woodland. It’s clear why local residents are so dead-set against them.”
MSPs Jackie Baillie and the Green Party’s Ross Greer.
Labour’s Jackie Baillie, the Dumbarton constituency MSP said: “I wanted to conduct a survey of local people from across Balloch and Haldane to gauge local opinion as I knew there were strongly held views. I shared this information with the Community Council, the developers and the National Park who will ultimately take the decision on whether to grant planning permission.
“Whilst 66% of those surveyed wanted to reject the application outright, even those that supported it raised significant concerns about road capacity and local employment. It is important that the developers and the planning authority consider this carefully, whatever decision they arrive at.”
Developers claim they are ‘encouraged by community support’
The team behind Lomond Banks, better known as Flamingoland, the proposed new tourist development on the banks of Loch Lomond, have said they are encouraged by community support – as well-known figures within the local area voice their support for their plans within Balloch.
Despite a campaign based on various ‘unfounded’ claims by outside organisations against the proposal, local businesses, including the heavily subsidised Maid of the Loch, which The Democrat has suggested should be towed out into the middle of the loch and scuttled before any more public money is wasted, have spoken up on the proposed development.
They claim their plan would bring over £40 million pounds of investment to the local area – with the creation of a sustainable accommodation-led resort in West Dunbartonshire.
Representing the Maid of the Loch, Iain Robertson, right, SNP veteran politician and chairman of the charity, confirmed that the group were keen to see the proposals come to fruition as it would not only benefit their vision for Loch Lomond’s paddle steamer, but would bring a lasting benefit to both the economy and community.
Speaking on Lomond Banks’ plans, Iain said: “The board of trustees have met, and we believe that this new application answers many of the questions that were raised the last time this project looked to get off the ground. As a board we have considered it carefully and believe that the Lomond Banks’ concept fits both with the local area and what the Maid of the Loch is trying to achieve.
“In an area that has lost so many jobs over the years, it is important that local people benefit from a successful development that complements the wider area and we believe that the proposed Lomond Banks plans will do just that.
“We hope that if successful, the developers will work with both us and other local businesses in making Balloch a place that people want to visit, stay and spend money in.”
Alongside the Maid of the Loch, local minister the Rev Ian Miller has also backed the proposed Lomond Banks plans and is calling for those still unsure about the development to seek out the submitted plans and form their own opinions.
Mr Miller, left, who has served the community of West Dunbartonshire for 47 years, said: “This area has been crying out for inward investment for too long and, as a member of the community council, I know we are desperate for this to happen.
“The plans proposed by Flamingo Land have been dogged by falsehoods and lies throughout the process, both in 2018 and now, including the misinformation that it would be a theme park. Lomond Banks was never going to be a theme park back in 2018 and again it certainly isn’t now.
“All I ask of my fellow neighbours and those in the wider area, is to seek out the plans, ask questions of the developers and make up your own mind. For me, I do believe that Lomond Banks will be both eco-friendly and complement the local area, providing a development that we can all be proud of for generations to come.”
A press release from Jim Paterson, development director for the project, was keen to provide these commitments. pushing the Flamingoland project, states: “With calls from the business community and local stakeholders for Lomond Banks to help create jobs, support training, development and the areas supply chain Jim Paterson, development director for the project, was keen to provide these commitments.
“We believe our £40 million investment in Balloch will not only create a world class, eco-tourism destination, but that it will bring jobs to the area, boost the local economy and provide a strong and sustainable development that will help both regenerate and support West Dunbartonshire in the future.
“Having facilitated extensive public consultations prior to submission, we have listened carefully to a range of opinions, including local people, businesses and other stakeholders, and have reflected these in our submission.
“Throughout the process we have reiterated our commitment to working closely with businesses to ensure that the local area will benefit from the development throughout and we believe that Lomond Banks will create something that is fitting for the area and is sympathetic to its important location at the gateway of Loch Lomond.”
Well, well, well…..SPOT THE JUDAS! This is a mutiny, treason, treachery and betrayal of the local community. There is massive opposition to this monstrosity. Tens of thousands have said “No” to the “rubber ears.” I notice they have turned YouTube comments off. Need I say more? Wolves dressed in sheep’s clothing. That’s what’s planned for Balloch. We’ve had 24 years of dereliction, contempt and neglect from that National Park lot already, not to mention WDC. Look how they cast themselves as “Saviours.” I never came up the Clyde on a biscuit!
PS The R Leven textile industry brought prosperity? Ask the Indians about that. The British burned their textile industry down to the ground, so they would become dependent on British imports. 90% of the local produce was exported. So much for Miller’s “falsehoods and lies.” There’s the pot calling the kettle black.
What’s more…..as “local worthies” Miller and Robertson well know the business case for developers is not a material land use planning consideration. Planning authorities have zero powers to investigate the internal affairs of exclusive private commercial business organisations. As things stand this alleged “£40 million” is shallow superficial hype. No one knows if that exists. No one knows who owns it or how it was acquired. And no one knows the economic impacts of “inward investment” save for doctored reports tailored to perpetuate the power, ownership and control of the establishment. Worse. This same crowd were pushing the same snake oil days before the entire global banking system went through the floorboards in 2008. Thereafter, a stream of other reports from other sources indicated vulnerable places like West Dunbartonshire would be most severely affected. So, when the shit hits the fan, who carries the can? Not them. The local community. Right now I am confident the local community is well aware of what is going on and they will respond accordingly to this latest ruse. Previously, these same people ran away from a Planning Committee meeting. Now they’ve changed their name….but the leopard hasn’t changed it’s spots. I predict a second victory for the local community. Nothing is over till it’s over.
And another thing. Where did the cotton come from for the VOL dye works to produce Miller’s prosperity. Yeah! The slave plantations. This guy has been literally leading everyone up the garden path from day one. Mr Gravy Train isn’t in it.