Flamingo Land operator could develop Loch Lomond resort
A site on the shores of Loch Lomond could be turned into a holiday resort by a theme park operator.
Flamingo Land Ltd, which runs attractions in North Yorkshire, has been named as the preferred developer of a 20-hectare (49-acre) site at West Riverside in Balloch.
They have drawn up proposals which include lodges, a boutique hotel, "glamping pods" and restaurants.
A range of "high-quality, family-based attractions" will also be in the plans.
Flamingo Land's chief executive, Gordon Gibb, said the masterplan would fit with the aims of the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park.
He told BBC Radio Scotland's John Beattie programme that it would be a "different type of venture" to their theme park.
"Being in the beautiful surroundings of the national park, the activities will be swimming and outdoor adrenaline pursuits rather than the rollercoasters and rides and attractions that we have become famous for at Flamingo Land," he said.
Mr Gibb added: "We are excited by the prospect of creating a resort in the national park that recognises the importance and sensitivity of the site.
"We see huge potential on the West Riverside and view this as a fantastic opportunity to create a family-oriented attraction that supports the sustainable tourism objectives of the national park.
"Loch Lomond is internationally recognised and opportunities like West Riverside are rare."
Scottish Enterprise, which named Flamingo Land as preferred developer, said the masterplan would build on the success of the nearby Loch Lomond Shores.
The shopping and leisure development attracts 1.25m visitors a year.
Derek McCrindle, director of the growth sector at Scottish Enterprise, said the West Riverside development could generate long-term economic benefits for Scotland.
It could also secure the national park as a key international tourism destination, he added.
"Following a stringent bidding process, Flamingo Land's proposal - Iconic Leisure Resort Loch Lomond - clearly aims to recognise the key sensitivities of developing within Scotland's national park," he said.
"This, together with its strong track record in creating visitor attractions - currently home to the third most popular tourist attraction in the UK - made it the developer of choice for this opportunity."
The plans follow a community consultation - known as a "charrette" - held in Balloch earlier ths year.
Gordon Watson, chief executive of the national park, said: "A key point that came out of the charrette was the aspiration in the local community to see the West Riverside developed in a way that connects Lomond Shores to the village, to make the most of Balloch as a gateway to Loch Lomond.
"As the planning authority, we look forward to engaging with the developer through the planning process, as they develop their masterplan for the site."