A well-attended protest meeting in Balloch with Cllr Jim Bollan, Dame Jackie Baillie MSP, Nick Kempe of Parkswatch, Rory MacLeod of Lomond Radio, Ross Greer and Maurice Corry, Provost of Argyll and Bute. Pictures by Bill Heaney
By Lucy Ashton
A ‘devastating’ objection submitted by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) should sink the controversial Flamingo Land mega-resort proposal for Loch Lomond, says Scottish Green MSP Ross Greer.
SEPA has objected to the plans, citing a serious flood risk to a large area of the proposed site.
SEPA’s response notes that ‘If these changes cannot be accommodated, then please consider this representation as an objection.’
Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, who will decide on the application, wrote to Flamingo Land last year with a list of demands for clarification of their plans. One of these demands was for the flood risk to be reassessed in light of the latest national planning policy.
While campaigners have been successful in forcing the developer to drop their plans to build in the ancient woodland at Balloch, the revised proposal would still see development on a huge scale, including over 100 self-catering lodges, two hotels, water-park, monorail, 372 car parking spaces and more.
Protest against Flamingoland in the packed White Church at Balloch.
The developers’ own flood risk assessment includes a map showing the extent of unacceptable flood risk . This zone includes the vast majority (roughly 35) of the 42 luxury lodges in the Riverside area, as well as part of the planned brewery.
This comes after the Scottish Greens secured a more cautious approach to flood risk this February as part of their role in Scottish Government. NPF4, the new national planning policy framework, requires councils and national parks to refuse development where there is significant flood risk. It also requires the expected impact of climate change to be taken into account.
Flamingo Land now need to decide whether to make further changes to their plans, which have drawn a Scottish record 72,000 objections. They want to cram in 104 woodland lodges, water park, two hotels, a monorail, 372 parking spaces and much more. The decision will ultimately be made by Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park.
Mr Greer, right, who has led the campaign against Flamingo Land said: “SEPA’s objection is a devastating rebuke to Flamingo Land and underlines just how badly thought through their destructive proposal is.
“Flamingo Land have failed to take hint after hint that their plans are totally inappropriate and simply unwanted by the vast majority of people. Maybe the revelation that climate change will leave a third of their holiday lodges “inundated” by water will finally be enough to wake them up.”
“With objections in from bodies like the National Trust for Scotland and now from our country’s environmental protection agency, Flamingo Land must acknowledge that their plans are well and truly sunk.
“Loch Lomond is one of the jewels in Scotland’s crown. An exclusive mega resort right on the edge of the Loch would be a scar on an iconic landscape, not to mention push it further out of reach for ordinary people.
“This latest intervention from SEPA should give the Park Authority the confidence they need to reject the application without delay and hopefully bring an end to this years-long saga.”