Flamingo Land developers branded 'grossly irresponsible' over flooding fears

SEPA were among the objections and demanded that changes were made to remove lodges from part of the site designated as a floodplain.

Loch Lomond Flamingo Land developers branded ‘grossly irresponsible’ over flooding fears Twitter/@lomondtrossachs

The company behind a controversial holiday resort on the banks of Loch Lomond have been slammed as “grossly irresponsible” after it was revealed they intend to push forward with plans despite concerns over flooding.

The controversial £40m proposals by Yorkshire-based Flamingo Land to build a tourist and visitor complex – including a hotel, self-catering lodges and a water park – in Balloch have already been met with more than 80,000 objections.

Environmental watchdog SEPA were among those objecting. They demanded changes be made to remove lodges from part of the site designated as a floodplain as a result of a new Scottish Government planning policy that rules out new developments in areas at risk of flooding.

The latest documents submitted by Flamingo Land to the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park Authority include the developers’ response to SEPA. 

They claim that their plans are covered by an exception because the site is “previously used”, pointing to the fact that, until 1986, there had been a railway on that part of the site.

Scottish Green MSP Ross Greer has slammed the company and branded Flamingo Land bosses “grossly irresponsible”.

He went on to demand that their plans are rejected by the National Park Authority as soon as possible.

Greer, who has led the campaign against Flamingo Land since his election in 2016, 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. 

“They’ve had every opportunity to scale back their plans, to address the flood risk and the concern of local residents, but they are far more interested in squeezing out every last penny of profit from the loch.

“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.

“These plans go against national and local planning policy on just about every conceivable level, which should make it easy for the National Park’s board to reject them and end the near-decade of stress and anxiety faced by local residents.

“Instead of choosing to avoid building on a flood plain, Flamingo Land has decided to argue words and definitions with our national environmental watchdog. The fact that this part of the site had a railway on it 40 years ago will be irrelevant when it’s underwater.

Flamingo Land have spent almost a decade attempting to build a huge development on the banks of Loch Lomond at Balloch, including 104 woodland lodges, two hotels, a water park, monorail and much more, all requiring 372 additional car parking spaces at one of the most congested spots on Loch Lomond.

One notable change in Flamingo Land’s plans is a revised estimate of the extra traffic which would be generated if the development went ahead. T

hey had previously suggested that there would be an increase of 158 additional journeys (arrivals and departures) during the peak hour of 5.30-6.30pm, but new documents admit that an anticipated uplift of  253 additional vehicles is far more accurate, equivalent to around one every 14 seconds.

Greer added: “The revelation that there will be more than 250 extra cars on the road at peak hours should ring alarm bells for anyone already familiar with the problems on the A82. Their offer of a £115,000 contribution towards tweaking a roundabout will make absolutely no difference in the face of that much extra traffic.”

The submission of the latest documents means that a public hearing on the plans can finally be held by Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park Authority, whose board will then vote to accept or reject the development. 

As the company withdrew their previous proposals at the last moment in 2019 to avoid almost certain rejection, this will be the first time that the mega-resort proposal will be considered by the park authority in public.

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, including specific mitigation measures relating to the new NPF4 levels.

“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 spokesperson for Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority said: “There has been ongoing consultation in recent months with SEPA and West Dunbartonshire Council Roads Authority, who are statutory consultees for this planning application. We received their further advice recently and last week we published an updated package of information – mostly related to flooding and traffic matters – on our public planning portal.  

“The National Park Authority is under a duty to publish, consult and re-notify on this additional information before we conclude our assessment of the planning application.

“In due course, we will formally notify the public and further consult with statutory consultees. This will provide an opportunity for people to comment on the additional information if they so wish. All comments previously provided about this planning application remain on the application file and will be taken into account.”

SEPA has been contacted for comment.

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