Economic development agency THE Scottish Government has resurrected its proposals for a tourist resort on the shores of Loch Lomond, which were scrapped after more than 55,000 public objections last year.
However, Scottish Enterprise now says it has reached an agreement that includes refreshed proposals for a riverside tourist destination with Lomond Banks – a subsidiary of tourism firm Flamingo Land Ltd.
The agency says this will lead to the development on the shores of Loch Lomond of hundreds of jobs as well as millions of pounds of investment.
An earlier planning proposal was withdrawn to redevelop the abandoned River Leven site in Balloch, and campaigners placed pressure on the agency to break ties with the company over concerns that it will blight the landscape and damage residents in the region.
In the Save Loch Lomond initiative, Scottish Enterprise faces pressure to break ties with Flamingo Ground.
Scottish Enterprise has emphasized, however, that it has no intentions to launch Lomond Banks with roller coasters or flamingos – although it operates a theme park in Yorkshire.
Instead, the aim is to create accommodation for tourists and walking paths that blend into the local climate, while retaining public access throughout the site.
The growth will also provide workers with learning and training opportunities and build partnerships with local schools and colleges, Scottish Enterprise said.
The proposals for Lomond Banks reflect very timely good news for the local economy, but also for tourism in Scotland, both of which have suffered badly as a result of the pandemic,” said Allan McQuade of Scottish Enterprise.”
“This development will bring much needed jobs and investment to the area while maintaining the integrity of the local environment.”
“He added: “A theme park at Lomond Banks has never been planned and reports along these lines are not based on facts and the developers will continue to ensure that the local community is thoroughly consulted.
“Scottish Enterprise has a responsibility to create quality jobs and economic opportunities, but also for sustainability, tackling climate change and building places for communities,” he said.
“These factors are central to everything we do and we look forward to them playing a big part in the future development of Lomond Banks.”
The news comes at a time when the local tourism industry is attempting to rebound from the effects of the Covid pandemic restrictions and closures.
Jim Clarkson, Regional Leadership Director (West) of VisitScotland, said, “Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park is a major attraction for visitors to the West of Scotland, so we welcome the news that after such a difficult year, significant jobs and investment are planned for the region.”
The pandemic of the coronavirus has had a devastating effect on the tourism industry and has changed the lives of people across the world.
Our aim is to use this opportunity to reset tourism in a responsible manner. We want to collaborate with communities to ensure that as tourism continues to recover, both tourists and residents have a great experience.
Any development in Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park must respect the fragile nature of the exceptional natural environment of the area, as well as any concerns posed by the local community.
“Tourism is a force for good and not only plays a role in creating jobs and economic benefits in every corner of Scotland, but also brings benefits to wellbeing and society, both of which are important following the impact of the pandemic.”
Letters: The decision of the National Park Authority to approve the creation of Loch Lomond is a shame.
Without Scottish Enterprise entering into discussions with other parties, the deal follows the termination of the previous exclusivity agreement between the two parties, which allowed the developer time to perform required site investigations.
After a two-year campaign by SE to find a developer who would satisfy SE and the Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Parks Authority’s mutual aspirations for a tourist attraction on the site, the agreement was signed in 2016.
The new arrangement – a conditional contract – allows Scottish Company to improve the property afterwards.