Furious locals against Flamingo Land Loch Lomond resort hit back at council for not opposing bid

Artists' impression of Lomond Banks development at Balloch, proposed by Flamingo Land.
Artists' impression of Lomond Banks development at Balloch, proposed by Flamingo Land. -Credit:Lomond Banks

Furious activists are set to lodge a formal complaint against councillors who failed to oppose Flamingo Land’s controversial Loch Lomond mega resort.

The Save Loch Lomond campaign accused local politicians at West Dunbartonshire Council of riding roughshod over local concerns after they remained neutral on the development at a key meeting last week.

Ultimately, the decision on whether to green-light the bid rests with Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, but the council’s view carries weight.

It’s the latest twist in the Yorkshire theme park operator’s tumultuous efforts to build a resort on the shores of the Bonnie Banks.

Dubbed ‘Lomond Banks’, the massive £40million site would see hotels, a monorail, a water park, swimming pool, restaurants, two huge car parks and more than 100 forest lodges built.

Opponents have long claimed the 46-acre behemoth development would “wreck” the iconic beauty spot, clog up roads and infrastructure and harm the environment.

But developers claim it would bring jobs and tourism and be a shot in the arm for the local economy.

Councillors voted in favour of Flamingo Land plans for Loch Lomond
Councillors voted in favour of Flamingo Land plans for Loch Lomond -Credit:Copyright Unknown

Campaigners said the majority of 12 councillors who effectively “voted in favour” of the application at a meeting last Wednesday “failed in their official duty to follow due process” and “failed to give a full and reasonable explanation” for their vote.

In a wide-ranging letter seen by the Record, activists will accuse councillors of breaching rules around community engagement and planning by failing to ensure locals had been “properly consulted”

It continued: “They ignored the people they were supposed to represent and reneged on a vow made in 2019 and multiple times after not to support this planning application."

The campaign group is seeking to gather signatures for the open letter ahead of submitting it to the council.

A previous bid by Flamingo Land for a Loch Lomond resort was withdrawn in 2019 amid local anger and council opposition - before they returned with a new application in 2022.

That too has faced setbacks - with eco watchdog SEPA objecting to the plans on the basis of flood risk, while Lomond Banks’ own application has admitted the scheme would mean an extra 250 cars on the roads at peak hours around the tiny village of Balloch.

The Scottish Greens say the application has now had a whopping 85,000 objections.

Campaigning MSP Ross Greer said: “This was a very disappointing decision by West Dunbartonshire Council and a huge missed opportunity.

"Councillors could have helped us bring this ridiculous saga to an end by putting their full weight behind an objection, but sadly a majority decided to take this neutral position put forward by Labour instead.

“West Dunbartonshire Council’s 2019 objection was key to getting Flamingo Land’s original plans dropped.

“Many local people will find it impossible to understand why they have decided not to object again, particularly given that Flamingo Land’s plans have not fundamentally changed and remain massively unpopular."

A council spokeswoman said: “We are satisfied the consultation response is fully compliant with all legislative and regulatory duties placed on us.”

Jim Paterson, Development Director for Lomond Banks, said: “We continue to be encouraged by feedback from key stakeholders, local businesses and members of the local community alike.

“We know that the objecting petition does not represent all views within the local community or their desire for jobs, providing a boost to the economy and inward investment in Balloch village.

“Language such as ‘mega resort’ is hugely inflammatory and grossly misleading. Our plans are in keeping with an area which has been zoned for local tourism development.”

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