By Bill Heaney
Leading a debate in the Scottish Parliament this week, Green MSP Ross Greer spoke of how he believes that a seven-year fight to stop Flamingo Land’s controversial plans for the shores of Loch Lomond will soon be won.
Mr Greer led the debate on a motion opposing the development and stressing the importance of greener tourism and alternatives to car-based visits to the National Park.
The latest revision of the plans, demanded by the National Park Authority in response to a detailed objection submitted by Mr Greer, pictured right, would see 104 lodges, 2 hotels, a water park, monorail, up to 21 apartments, a brewery, a pub, a restaurant, a boathouse and 372 parking spaces.
While there is no longer built development planned within the protected ancient woodland on the site, the Woodland Trust are still warning of unacceptable impact on woodland from the construction and operation of plans, and from the ancient Drumkinnon Woods being sold off to the Yorkshire-based theme park operator.
In his speech, Greer outlined the long and “exhausting” history of the company’s bid to get the go-ahead for a massive tourist development, despite huge local and national opposition. He congratulated community campaigners on their successes so far, but warned of the damage that would be caused if the latest version of the plans are given the go-ahead.
Greer said: “Forty three thousand objections have been lodged to this latest application. Balloch residents are opposed by a margin of three to one.
“The Woodland Trust and Ramblers Scotland have joined us in opposing it once again. The National Trust for Scotland has now also come out against the plans.
“We are all motivated by a deep love for Loch Lomond and a passionate desire to protect it. We have beaten Flamingo Land at every turn these last seven years. And we are ready to do so again, one last time. We are going to save Loch Lomond.”
“The scoreboard so far over these last seven years certainly only points one way. Our community campaign roundly defeated their first application. We’ve forced major revisions to their second. And we will absolutely see off this equally unwelcome third attempt.”
- See special Parkswatch investigation of the Flamingoland planning application by Nick Kempe in today’s issue of The Dumbarton Democrat.