Glasgow & West Scotland

Anger over £30m hotel and leisure complex for Loch Lomond

Lomond Banks Image copyright Lomond Banks
Image caption An artist's impression of how the development at Loch Lomond would look

More than 50,000 objections have been lodged against a new £30m tourist development at Loch Lomond.

The proposals include a 60-bedroom apart-hotel, 32-bedroom budget accommodation, a craft brewery, holiday homes, leisure centre and restaurants.

But the Lomond Banks development at Balloch has proven controversial with strong local opposition.

Campaigners fear the project will spoil the scenery and limit access to the shoreline for locals.

Alannah Maurer, of the Save Loch Lomond campaign, told BBC Scotland's The Nine: "A national park is a theme park in its own right, a natural theme park and in this time of climate change we should be looking at conserving that natural theme park.

"Those buildings will dominate the scenery, they will dominate the village of Balloch."

The planning application - put forward by Flamingo Land Limited and Scottish Enterprise - will be determined by the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park Authority.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Opponents fear the development will spoil the area's character

Public body Scottish Enterprise owns the land and Allan McQuade, a director of the agency, insists the proposal "is not going to destroy the vista of Loch Lomond".

He added: "There is huge opposition but due process will be followed in terms of the planning process."

The plan does have some supporters locally. John Sweeney, of Sweeney's Cruise Company, which has operated boats on Loch Lomond since the 1880s, said: "From what I have seen so far of their plans I am quite supportive.

"This whole area is a tourist hub and once the people are here they can go out into the countryside or on to the loch, I don't think it will spoil the views of anything."

It is estimated the Lomond Banks development at Balloch would create 80 full-time jobs, 50 part-time jobs and 70 seasonal roles in the area.

Image copyright Lomond Banks
Image caption Developers have promised upgrades to public footpaths and green spaces in the area but locals fear they will lose access to popular routes

A petition against the proposals has attracted more than 35,000 signatures and Green MSP Ross Greer, who has launched a crowd funder to hire an environmental planning expert for the campaign, says his website has seen over 50,000 people to object to the plans.

Andy Millar, from Lomond Banks, said suggestions the area would be turned into a theme park was "one of the biggest misconceptions out there".

He said: "We are in Loch Lomond, we are in a lovely location and we want to make the most of the natural area that we have got."

Changes to the original planning application, which have seen the number of holiday lodges in the proposal increased from 28 to 50, mean the park authority is consulting with statutory consultees again.

A date for deciding on the application has not yet been set.

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