National Trust for Scotland has raised fears over impact the major plans could have on ancient woodland and businesses in Balloch
By Bill Heaney
The National Trust for Scotland has objected to plans for the £40million Flamingo Land tourist resort at Balloch on Loch Lomondside.
The twin-set, pearls and tweeds brigaqde, which carries considerable weight with the establishment, has raised fears over the impact their plans could have on ancient woodland and businesses at the southern end of the loch.
Flamingo Land has submitted proposals to create a 60-bed hotel, 127 self-catering lodges, a leisure pool and water park facility, as well as restaurants, cafes, retail areas and a monorail.
However, one of the biggest public protests ever with around 60,000 petitioners supporting it, don’t want it and, apart from the local community council, appears to oppose it.
The National Trust has submitted a letter of objection to Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park over the plans.
It reads: “The National Trust for Scotland wishes to object to this application, as it currently stands.
“The Trust recognises that the applicant has taken into account comments on their previous proposals and has made a number of improvements.
“We believe more can still be done, particularly in safeguarding the areas of ancient woodland and in ensuring the development connects to the wider community and the local economy.”
They add that the large size of the development would result in the loss of woodland, stating: “Due to the scale of the development we are concerned that there will be direct loss and potential damage to a significant area of ancient woodland across the site which we do not support.”
Flamingo Land withdrew a bid to build the resort, aka Lomond Banks, project in 2019 following more than 55,000 public objections. The numbers have risen since.
The Yorkshire-based firm later resurrected the plans and is now seeking outline planning permission for the resort.
They said they had amended their plans following public feedback, including deciding not to develop in Drumkinnon Woods.
The National Trust for Scotland objection also raised concerns over the impact the development could have on existing businesses in the local area.
It continues: “The attraction of the extra jobs and enhanced tourism offering this would bring to the Balloch area is understandable, however it seems at such a scale it would draw business away from the existing tourism businesses and compete with them for a limited supporting labour market.
“Along with other businesses and organisations in the area we have been aware of existing recruitment difficulties this year in finding staff for cleaning and catering.
“More demand would stretch this finite resource even further.”
The Trust also raised concerns over increased traffic on the area and said the holiday park would put greater pressure on the roads network in the Balloch area which is already strained.
However, in a move that will give some heart to the developers, they did say they backed development plans to renovate Woodbank House, right, a Grade A listed building on the site.
Lomond Banks development director Jim Paterson has previously said issues raised during the consultation process were listened to, commenting: “We have listened to the issues raised throughout our consultation process, and the plans now include very significant amendments to ensure Lomond Banks will be in keeping with its environment and protect its treasured assets.
“Our environmental and commercial commitment to Balloch and West Riverside remains steadfast, and we want to complement what makes Loch Lomond so attractive to visitors.
“Our aim would be to invest and hire locally, as well as working with local businesses to maximise the he development for all.”