Withdrawal of Flamingo Land bid could be a ‘cynical ploy’, warns Ross Greer MSP

Plans for the controversial £30 million Loch Lomond resort could be resubmitted by Flamingo Land “with a few small changes,” the Green MSP cautioned

-          Flamingo Land’s plans for the Lomond Banks project withdrawn following Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park Authority’s recommendation that it be rejected

-          Over 57,000 objections lodged against “the most unpopular planning application in Scottish history”

-          Reports indicate the team behind the resort have not ruled our resubmitting another application at a later date

-          Ross Greer: “If they think such a cynical ploy will stop our community campaign, they have another thing coming.”

THE CAMPAIGN against Flamingo Land’s controversial £30 million holiday resort in Loch Lomond will continue, despite the announcement that its planning application has been withdrawn, Green MSP Ross Greer has confirmed.

The withdrawal of Flamingo Land’s bid was confirmed today [17 September], following the recommendation by Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park Authority earlier this month that it be rejected.

Local and national objections have dogged the Lomond Banks resort since it was first put forward by Flamingo Land Limited, after the company was named the preferred developer of a 20-hectare stretch of former public land in Balloch by Scottish enterprise.

Between April and May this year, more than 55,000 objections were lodged against the proposed resort, which would be built over part of the Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park, with activists characterising the development as a “land grab”.

Campaigners argued that Lomond Banks would cause damage to ancient woodland, pollution of standing and running water, and fatalities to local wildlife – including otters and red squirrels - for the sake of private profit. Further objections have been raised in principle against the selling of public land to private interests.

READ MORE: 'The most unpopular planning application in Scottish history': Councillors vote unanimously to oppose Loch Lomond land resort

In June, West Dunbartonshire Council voted unanimously to oppose the plans for the resort, which campaigners condemned as “the most unpopular planning application in Scottish history”. A further park authority report concluded: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."

Ross Greer MSP, a long-time campaigner against Flamingo Land’s plans for the land, warned that the withdrawal of the planning application may be a “cynical ploy”, and that Flamingo Land may press ahead with a further, modified application at a later date.

According to the BBC, the team behind the Lomond Banks project have not ruled out submitting another application, leaving the resort’s resurrection a future possibility.

Commenting on these developments, Greer said: “Flamingo Land’s environmentally destructive proposal was the most unpopular planning application in Scottish history. More than 57,000 people objected including many in the local community who saw through the spin. Now, following our historic campaign and the National Park's own planning officers recommending a rejection, the developers have, for now, withdrawn their ridiculous plans.

READ MORE: Ross Greer MSP slams controversial Loch Lomond resort over diminishing jobs claims

"This is likely a transparent attempt to resubmit with a few small changes, cancelling the near sixty thousand objections lodged to the current proposals. If they think such a cynical ploy will stop our community campaign, they have another thing coming. We will not stop until we have saved Loch Lomond from Flamingo Land's greed.

"It is truly bizarre to see a letter from Flamingo Land's lawyers, essentially labelling thousands of members of the public stupid for having quoted the developer's own Environmental Impact Assessment in their objections. If Flamingo Land don't like what's being said, they shouldn't have proposed such environmentally destructive plans for our world famous national park in the first place."

The Save Loch Lomond campaign tweeted out a similar response, stating: “’I’m afraid it’s not over. Flamingoland plan to resubmit new (amended) development plans...the fight is not won...so don’t take your eyes off the ball folks”.

Also commenting, 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.

"This is likely a transparent attempt to resubmit with a few small changes, cancelling the near sixty thousand objections lodged to the current proposals.” Green MSP Ross Greer

"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."

Lomond Banks director Andy Miller added: "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."

Picture courtesy of Bob the Lomond

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