FLAMINGO Land has been told to “give up” on its Loch Lomond development following a game-changing objection from the National Trust for Scotland (NTS), the Scottish Greens have said.

The Lomond Banks resort was initially rejected, but a second planning bid is now under way after being lodged in May 2022.

Ross Greer, MSP for the West of Scotland region, who has been an opponent of the controversial tourist attraction bid and critical of the developer's plans, told them to back down following the NTS intervention.

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Locals have frequently objected to the move and a campaign group Save Loch Lomond was established to fight the development which features a refurbished tourist information building, a 60-bed hotel, and 127 self-catering lodges.

NTS, the country’s largest membership organization and which owns Ben Lomond, as well as holding the responsibility for two of Loch Lomond’s islands, lodged their objection in September.

In a four-page objection letter Ian McLelland, regional director for South & West NTS, raised a number of concerns including the community impact, the potential destruction of ancient woodland, and the scale of the development.

The Trust raised concerns about the impact of traffic congestion on the area, the impact on the local economy, and the protection of significant ecological environments.

Objecting to the application in its current form, NTS said they believe “more can still be done” to safeguard woodland areas and to engage more with the community.

The National: The development would be on the western banks of Loch LomondThe development would be on the western banks of Loch Lomond

McLelland wrote: “We appreciate that the application has made a commitment to maintain tree cover where possible, and to remove invasive species. However, due to the scale of the development, we are concerned that there will be direct loss and potential damage to a significant area of ancient woodland across the site which we do not support.”

As well as increased traffic, the NTS noted that there are recruitment issues in the hospitality and tourism sector, particularly catering and cleaning, and the development would “stretch this finite resource even further”.

“The attraction of the extra jobs and enhanced tourism offering this would bring to the Balloch area is understandable, however, it seems at such a scale it would draw business away from the existing tourism businesses and compete with them for a limited supporting labour market,” the letter reads.

The first development bid saw more than 60,000 people sign a petition in objection, with a second under way already gathering 30,000 signatories.

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Greer thanked the NTS for their “powerful objection”, adding that it makes a strong case for the development’s plans to be rejected for a second time.

He said: “It joins a long list of other respected voices including the Woodland Trust, Ramblers Scotland, over thirty-two thousand members of the public who have objected via our online portal, and the vast majority of respondents to two recent surveys of local residents.

“Even the National Park’s own Estates Department has expressed severe concerns about aspects of the plans.

“Despite a glossy PR operation, it’s clear which way this is going. It’s time for Flamingoland and their partners to give up for good. The sooner the community is allowed to move on from this threat, the better.”

Jim Paterson, Development Director for Lomond Banks, said: “Sadly, Ross Greer, has a rather skewed view of our current planning application and this is another effort from him to derail a democratic process. We welcome the opinions from all different individuals, groups and organisations and we have been very encouraged that no formal objection has been returned by any of the statutory consultees to date.

“Whilst The National Trust is neither a statutory or non-statutory consultee, we are of course, disappointed by their position.

"We are pleased, however, to hear their views on our plans to reinvigorate Woodbank House, and we would welcome further opportunity to engage with them to clarify and discuss our position in some of their areas of concern. 

 “We remain committed to our plans for Lomond Banks, and have spent a great deal of time looking at how we support the local business community and protect the very things that make the area special, such as the ancient woodland of Drumkinnon Wood which has been completely removed from the development area. 

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"We continue to engage with the community, local business, and organisations and of course, West Dunbartonshire Council and the National Park Authority as the plans progress.”

It comes after we told how the Lomond Banks developers may have broken strict environmental planning rules after neglecting to upload key images with the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

An expert in planning law pulled up the developers over the missing mock-ups of how the site would look, claiming that a failure to advertise the plans could leave the bid open to judicial review.

The developers refuted the claims and accused the Greens, who engaged the planning expert, of "scaremongering".