4 November 2022
By Bill Heaney
Green MSP Ross Greer, right, has written to the Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park Authority calling on them to disregard a submission in support of the Flamingo Land organisation from a community council which has since dissolved.
As the Community Council covering the proposed site, Balloch and Haldane Community Council (BHCC) were statutory consultees on the plans, currently under consideration of National Park Planning officers.
On 7 September, BHCC met and decided to give provisional support to the plans, despite having surveyed residents and received a 74% rate of objection.
BHCC sent a letter of support to the National Park the next day, and publicised this through the media on 21 September.
However, the very next day, 22 September, BHCC officially folded when West Dunbartonshire Council, responsible for receiving nominations for election of new community councillors, failed to receive the minimum number of nominations to keep BHCC going.
This means that, while a statement of support from BHCC remains on record, there is no longer a sitting community council to explain or defend that decision.
Ross Greer has written to the National Park to ask that the authority does not give BHCC’s comments the weight that a community council’s view would normally be given.
Ross, Scottish Greens MSP for the West of Scotland, explained: “It was farcical enough that a community council decided to disregard the views of a three-to-one majority of their own community.
“But the fact that a Community Council spokesperson was promoting this decision the day before the council disbanded just beggars belief.”
“While the comments will presumably remain on record, in this case there are so many questions left unanswered by their submission, and no Community Council left to answer them.
“The National Park should want to know why they ignored the majority view of the community they were supposed to represent, and why they claimed that the Local Plan states that “that the area concerned be zoned for visitor experience” when a significant part of the proposed site is outside that area.”