Plans to create a new 'world-class tourist development' on the banks of Loch Lomond have divided the local community with claims that 'misinformation' is being spread by the opposition.
Flamingo Land has submitted plans to create up to 60 apartments, a budget hotel with up to 32 beds, 127 self-catering holiday lodges, and to restore and redevelop Woodbank House as 21 self-catering holiday apartments under the Lomond Banks umbrella. The development would represent £40 million pounds of investment in the local area.
Lomond Banks has accused outside organisations of spreading 'unfounded claims' about the proposal after over 2,700 people signed a petition opposing the plans. The Stop Flamingo Land 2.0 campaign believes the plans are 'far too big and inappropriate for the location'.
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A previous application to transform the site into a holiday destination was thrown out two years ago, when more than 50,000 objections were lodged against the plans. Among those supporting the plans is local minister Ian Miller who claimed that the local community council is 'desperate' for the plans to be given the green light.
Reverend Ian Miller, who has served the community of West Dunbartonshire for 47 years, said: “This area has been crying out for inward investment for too long and, as a member of the community council, I know we are desperate for this to happen. The plans proposed by Flamingo Land have been dogged by falsehoods and lies throughout the process, both in 2018 and now, including the misinformation that it would be a theme park.
"Lomond Banks was never going to be a theme park back in 2018 and again it certainly isn’t now. All I ask of my fellow neighbours and those in the wider area, is to seek out the plans, ask questions of the developers and make up your own mind.
"For me, I do believe that Lomond Banks will be both eco-friendly and complement the local area, providing a development that we can all be proud of for generations to come.”
Maid of the Loch paddle steamer is also backing the development and believe it could bring 'lasting benefit to both the economy and community'.
Iain Robertson, chairman of the charity, said: “The board of trustees have met, and we believe that this new application answers many of the questions that were raised the last time this project looked to get off the ground. As a board we have considered it carefully and believe that the Lomond Banks’ concept fits both with the local area and what the Maid of the Loch is trying to achieve.
“In an area that has lost so many jobs over the years, it is important that local people benefit from a successful development that complements the wider area and we believe that the proposed Lomond Banks plans will do just that. We hope that if successful, the developers will work with both us and other local businesses in making Balloch a place that people want to visit, stay and spend money in.”
Council Leader and Lomond ward councillor Martin Rooney said the council will give its formal response to the Lomond Bank when they 'all the facts available and a report from the professional officers of the Council'.
Jim Paterson, development director for the project, said: “We believe our £40million investment in Balloch will not only create a world-class, eco-tourism destination, but that it will bring jobs to the area, boost the local economy and provide a strong and sustainable development that will help both regenerate and support West Dunbartonshire in the future.
"Throughout the process we have reiterated our commitment to working closely with businesses to ensure that the local area will benefit from the development throughout and we believe that Lomond Banks will create something that is fitting for the area and is sympathetic to its important location at the gateway of Loch Lomond.”
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