14 September 2023
September 18, 2023
Jim Paterson, Development Director for Lomond Banks, aka Flamingo Land, said: “Our plans have evolved considerably since our original application. We have spent much of the last two years consulting with and listening carefully to the local community in order to shape the plans that have been put forward.
“Our commitment to Balloch and West Riverside remains strong and our proposed development is sustainable, environmentally sound and commercially viable. We plan to invest £40m and bring 200 jobs to an area where this will have a significant positive impact. Economic investment and meaningful growth in the tourism market is much-needed, both locally and across Scotland as a whole.
“We want to complement what makes Loch Lomond so attractive to visitors, and our aim would be to invest locally, hire locally, and work with local businesses to maximise the benefits of the development for all. The creation of our ‘Lomond Promise’ reflects this, confirming that these positive benefits would be enjoyed primarily by the local communities surrounding Balloch.
“We remain confident in our proposals and the many benefits they will bring and we look forward to working with West Dunbartonshire Council and the National Park as plans progress.”
Ross Greer MSP and Councillors Martin Rooney, Karen Conaghan and Jim Bollan.
By Lucy Ashton
Green MSP Ross Greer has written to the leader of West Dunbartonshire Council, Martin Rooney (Labour), the leader of the opposition Karen Conaghan (SNP) and to other councillors, urging them to ensure that the council lodges an objection to the controversial Flamingo Land development by Loch Lomond.
In 2019 Flamingo Land’s plans were withdrawn after the council lodged a detailed objection. But the theme park operator has returned with plans for over 100 self-catering lodges, two hotels, a water-park, monorail, 372 car parking spaces and more.
These plans are currently in limbo after Scotland’s environment protection agency demanded a large number of lodges were removed from a section of the site deemed to be at serious risk of flooding. The application remains open for consultation and a record 73,000 people have already objected.
While the final decision will be made by Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, West Dunbartonshire Council is a key consultee as the entire site is within the council’s boundaries.
Greer, Green MSP for the West of Scotland who has led a campaign against the plans, commented: “Flamingo Land are offering nothing but disaster for the climate, more congestion for local roads and an irreversible scar on our world-famous local landscape.
“73,000 people have already objected to these ridiculous plans, and multiple surveys have shown a clear majority of local people are opposed. West Dunbartonshire Council’s objection was a huge boost to our first campaign back in 2019, so we need them to show up for local residents once again and issue a second strong objection to Flamingo Land.
“Readers can still make their own views known too, by using my objection portal at www.greens.scot/FlamingoLand.”
Dear Councillors Rooney, Conaghan and Bollan
I’m writing to request West Dunbartonshire Council’s support in once again opposing Flamingo Land’s proposed development at Balloch.
You’ll recall that WDC unanimously agreed a very strong motion of opposition to the previous version of these plans at your June 2019 meeting. As a key consultee, I have no doubt that the council’s views were instrumental in the decision of National Park officers to recommend refusal and to the applicants’ subsequent withdrawal of their application.
While there have been changes to the plans since the council discussed them in 2019 (mainly the welcome announcement that ancient woodland will not be developed as part of the proposals, although Drumkinnon Woods would still be sold to a private company with an incentive to exploit it for commercial gain), much of your original objection still stands.
For example, the expected exacerbation of the existing traffic congestion problems in Balloch and along the A82 very much still of major concern. I hope you’ll agree with me that a new development with an overwhelming number of visitors expected to arrive by car (demonstrated by the inclusion of 372 car parking spaces) is totally inappropriate at a time that we have a duty to encourage modal shift and green tourism.
WDC’s objection in 2019 rightly drew attention to the fact that the planned resort was larger than expected in the National Park’s planning policy. This is still the case, with the development stretching beyond the boundaries of the area zoned for tourist development.
Crucially, WDC’s concerns about risk to the local economy still stand. It would provide direct competition to a number of existing businesses, a point supported very clearly by the objection lodged by the National Trust for Scotland. The scale of development in this location will inevitably be a scar on the internationally famous landscape on which so much of the local economy depends.
While Flamingo Land have had the option for many years of demonstrating a clear case that their plans would benefit the local economy, they have consistently failed to do so. For all the repeated soundbites given to the media about creating jobs, there has been precious little hard evidence provided.
There are also now significant grounds for objection which did not exist in 2019. Scottish planning policy has responded to the increasing demands posed by the climate emergency, as reflected in NPF4 but Flamingo Land’s latest plans clearly fail to meet the demands of the new framework, particularly given that this development is fundamentally dependent on cars.
Notably, SEPA have recently lodged an objection on the grounds that a large part of the development is at unacceptable flood risk after accounting for climate change.
If the application is accepted by the National Park, it would trigger the sale of precious public land to a private company based hundreds of miles away.
The application is currently on hold once more while the applicants decide how to respond to SEPA’s objection and as you are undoubtedly aware this further delay is only putting more stress on the local residents who have had this threat hanging over them for many years.
I would urge you to bring forward a motion for debate on this application once again and to agree a unanimous position of objection, standing in solidarity with the residents of Balloch and the 73,000 people who have already lodged their objections and joined our campaign to Save Loch Lomond.
Ross Greer MSP, Scottish Green Party, West of Scotland