Flamingo Land has renewed its plans for a tourism development on Loch Lomond, which could create hundreds of jobs and pump millions of pounds into the area.
Scottish Enterprise has been in talks with Lomond Banks, a subsidiary of the Yorkshire tourism firm, since the withdrawal of a previous planning application in September 2019 for the redevelopment of the brownfield site adjoining the River Leven at Balloch.
Refreshed plans for the riverside destination will be drawn up to bring up to 200 tourism and hospitality jobs once the site is complete, as well as significant numbers in the construction phase.
The economic development agency said the intention is to have visitor accommodation and walkways sympathetic to the local environment, with public access maintained throughout the site.
Scottish Enterprise’s director of business infrastructure Allan McQuade said: “The plans for Lomond Banks present a really timely positive news story for the local economy but also for tourism in Scotland, both of which have suffered hugely as a result of the pandemic.
“This development will bring much needed employment and investment to the area, while maintaining the integrity of the local environment.”
VisitScotland’s regional leadership director Jim Clarkson added: “Tourism is a force for good and has a part to play in not just providing jobs and economic benefits to every corner of Scotland, but also bringing benefits to wellbeing and society, both vitally important following the impact of the pandemic.”
However, West of Scotland Green Party MSP Ross Greer, who has campaigned against the plans, called the latest development an outrage.
The original proposal split the communities of Balloch, the Vale and Dumbarton.
More than 57,000 objections to the original proposals were lodged via the Scottish Greens, contributing to over 60,000 objections lodged in total.
Earlier this month, Greer presented a petition signed by 13,000 people asking that it not be renewed.
He stated: “Flamingo Land’s destructive plans were the most unpopular planning application in Scottish history, with overwhelming local and national opposition.
“The developer has consistently acted in bad faith and clearly has no interest in what the local community actually wants or needs. Scottish Enterprise owns this land and as a public body they are directly accountable to the Scottish Government through the Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop.
“She must step in immediately to prevent this exclusive agreement from being renewed.
“The community are exhausted by this saga, but if forced to, they will continue to defend Loch Lomond’s world-famous natural environment from those only interested in exploiting it for profit.”