West Dunbartonshire Council chiefs urge councillors to back Flamingo Land's resort plans

-Credit:Copyright Unknown
-Credit:Copyright Unknown

Flamingo Land’s plans for a £40million holiday resort in Balloch look set to be given backing from councillors.

West Dunbartonshire Council officers have urged members to formally back the leisure site - which includes a monorail and a waterpark - when they meet tomorrow if road improvements are included as a condition on planning being granted.

The response would mark a radical u-turn from the local authority, which unanimously objected to the original plans in 2019.

They were withdrawn at the 11th hour by development chiefs, with WDC having agreed a cross-party motion of opposition.

Flamingo Land bosses say they have made “significant amendments” following feedback.

The revised plans include a water park, monorail, swimming pool, hotel, over 100 lodges and restaurants built on land at West Riverside.

Crucially however developers have also pledged to upgrade the congested Stoneymollan Roundabout in Balloch, after concerns from locals, with a legal funding agreement in place with Transport Scotland.

Council papers also recommended that the Ballochloan roundabout should be reprofiled under the plans.

Jim Paterson, development director for Lomond Banks, recently said: “We know the transport issues around Loch Lomond have been a concern so we considered it vitally important to instruct updates to the transport assessments at peak times and form this new, legally binding agreement with Transport Scotland.”

And despite clocking up a record 84,000 objections - the plans have won the support of council planning officers, with WDC’s formal response - in a report to be discussed at the full council meeting next week, stating: “West Dunbartonshire Council has no objections to the above planning application as a neighbouring Planning Authority subject to the recommended works to the Ballochloan Roundabout being conditioned and undertaken.

-Credit:Lomond Banks
-Credit:Lomond Banks

“If these works are not conditioned, the council would object to the development.”

The report adds that council road surveys do not anticipate any issues with traffic at both roundabouts - other than those already caused by queueing for the McDonald’s restaurant and normal seasonal spikes during good weather.

And it says that a Monorail - proposed to take visitors between Station Square and the pierhead is a “particular attraction”.

The report states: “The proposal would help to establish Balloch as a gateway to Loch Lomond and increase its attractiveness as a tourist destination.

“The new development is likely to stimulate further improvements in Balloch such as Station Square, Duncan Mill Slipway improvements or active travel links linking to the National Cycle Network.

“An increased number of visitors staying in the area could help unlock redevelopment potential of Balloch Castle and help other local attractions such as the Maid of the Loch.

“The development proposals would be positive in terms of increase in local employment opportunities and increase in tourism numbers to the local area which could also benefit local businesses and traders.”

But among the objectors is environmental watchdog SEPA, who demanded that changes were made to remove lodges from part of the site designated as a flood plain.

This is on the back of a Scottish Government planning policy (National Planning Framework 4) which rules out new developments in flood risk areas.

But in the latest documents submitted by Flamingo Land to the National Park Authority developers claim that their plans are covered by an exception because the site was “previously used” as, until 1986, there had been a railway on that part of it.

Flamingo Land has also revised an estimate of the extra traffic generated by the development.


They had previously said that there would be an increase of 158 additional journeys (arrivals and departures) during the peak of 5.30-6.30pm, but new documents admit that an extra of 253 additional vehicles is more likely - around one every 14 seconds.

Green MSP Ross Greer, a vocal opponent, said: “Flamingo Land’s arrogant dismissal of SEPA’s flood warnings just shows how grossly irresponsible this company is. They are not fit to take over one of the most important spots on the shores of Loch Lomond.

“Balloch does not want or need over a hundred woodland lodged and almost four hundred parking spaces, never mind a waterpark, hotel and monorail scarring one of Scotland’s most iconic landscapes.

“The fact that this part of the site had a railway on it 40 years ago will be irrelevant when it’s underwater.”

-Credit:Alasdair MacLeod/Daily Record
-Credit:Alasdair MacLeod/Daily Record

Jim Paterson, development director for Lomond Banks, said: “We take our obligations as a responsible developer very seriously and have addressed SEPA’s response fully, providing extensive evidence on how we meet the guidelines.

“The latest documentation has been submitted and is under review by Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park as the planning authority, and SEPA as a statutory consultee. We remain in ongoing dialogue with both parties.

“It’s our firm belief that our £40m sustainable world-class Lomond Banks development will bring considerable economic and social benefit to the region and we look forward to progressing with the application in due course.”

A public hearing on the plans will be held by Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park Authority, whose board will then vote to accept or reject the development.

This will be the first time that the mega-resort proposal will be considered by the Park Authority in public.