Glasgow & West Scotland

Flamingo Land withdraw Loch Lomond resort bid

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

Flamingo Land has formally withdrawn its planning application to build a £30m tourist resort on Loch Lomond.

The move comes after officials for the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park Authority recommended its board reject the bid earlier this month.

More than 55,000 objections were lodged against the Lomond Banks development between April and May.

But the team behind the project have not ruled out submitting a fresh application at a later date.

Scottish Green MSP Ross Greer, who led the campaign against the plans, tweeted: "We've won this battle but it's not over.

"They will resubmit, in a transparent attempt to cancel the 57,000 objections lodged against them this time."

Flamingo Land Ltd and Scottish Enterprise confirmed that they had informed the National Park Authority they collectively wished to withdraw the live planning application.

Andy Miller, director of Lomond Banks, said: "We've been working hard with all parties, including the National Park Authority, for more than two years to ensure all information relating to the proposed development was made readily available.

"We know the national park recognises that the majority of what we propose fits in with the LDP [local development plan].

"It is therefore surprising and disappointing that their recommendation report raises previously unidentified concerns and highlights the need for new additional information."

Image copyright Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park
Image caption A hotel, lodges and "glamping pods" formed part of the plan for the site at Balloch

He said the move would grant the team sufficient time to understand new concerns, provide additional information requested and consider the most appropriate course of action.

Mr Miller added: "Our priority now is to fully understand concerns, gather the necessary information and dispel some of the myths that continue to circulate around our ambitions for the site.

"It is only at this point, we will consider re-submitting our plans to ensure decision makers will be able to take a fully informed decision on this important application."

A park authority spokeswoman said that a "significant amount of time and resource" went into assessing the application and the report which recommended refusal.

She said: "It is ultimately the applicants' decision not to continue with this process.

"While land within this application site has been identified as suitable for tourism development, it is crucial that any new development protects the character of the existing landscape and the natural and built environment, while making a positive contribution to area as an international tourism destination."

The final say on the development rested with the park authority - not West Dunbartonshire Council.

The proposals included a 60-bedroom apart-hotel, a 32-bedroom budget accommodation, a craft brewery, boat house, leisure centre and restaurants.

Scottish Enterprise director Allan McQuade said: "Any proposed plan and investment of this scale must be considered from all angles and subsequent planning and investment decisions based on hard evidence and fact therefore it is only right that the current planning application be withdrawn to allow sufficient time for all parties to consider additional new information.

"As with previous developments at Loch Lomond, we understand people are concerned and our priority is to ensure that any development on the parcel of derelict land in Balloch is delivered in line with planning policy."

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

While the proposal was drawn up by the theme-park operator, it was not branded as Flamingo Land. The developers have previously insisted the resort would not be a theme park.

Campaigners feared the project would spoil the scenery and limit access to the shoreline for locals.

Image copyright Google
Image caption The plans were drawn up Flamingo Land but the Loch Lomond development would not carry the theme park's name.

A park authority report noted that the plan "has not demonstrated that there will be no adverse impacts on the character or integrity" of the existing asset.

It stated: "Two key elements of the application - proposals in Drumkinnon Wood and at the Pierhead area - would result in significant unacceptable impacts on the landscape, visual amenity, and trees and woodland.

"As a result, the proposed development would adversely affect the area's built heritage and the enjoyment of the Pierhead area by both visitors and locals.

"There are no socio-economic reasons, or public benefits that would outweigh these reasons. It is also not considered that the use of planning conditions could reasonably control or mitigate these impacts."

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