What is happening with Flamingo Land at Loch Lomond?

A proposed resort on the shores of Loch Lomond featuring a waterpark and monorail has taken a step closer after local councillors backed the plan.

West Dunbartonshire Council voted in favour of the Lomond Banks development - angering opponents who have protested against the controversial project.

The proposal is by theme park operator Flamingo Land.

However, final approval for the development rests with the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park Authority.

What is Flamingo Land?

Flamingo Land is a theme park and zoo in Yorkshire that has operated since the 1950s.

In 2018 the company behind the park - Flamingo Land Limited - submitted proposals for a tourist development at Loch Lomond, including a hotel, craft brewery and leisure centre.

The plan was met with strong opposition, with an online petition against it gathering more than 55,000 signatures.

In September 2019 the company withdrew its original plans, but returned in 2020 with an updated £40m ($50m) proposal featuring a water park, monorail, swimming pool, a hotel and restaurants.

Throughout the process Flamingo Land has insisted that the development would not be a theme park, and council papers state that it would be a "a major step away" from their other resorts.

More than 85,000 people have now signed the petition against the new proposal.

Why are some people so opposed?

Green MSP Ross Greer
Ross Greer has spoken against the development [BBC]

The original plans were dubbed "the most unpopular planning application in Scottish history" by Ross Greer, the Scottish Greens MSP, and the revised proposal has proved just as controversial.

Concerns have focused on whether the development would distort public green space in one of Scotland's most scenic areas.

Lynne Somerville, the chair of Balloch and Haldane Community Council, recently told the BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme that the plans would "dominate the whole west side of Balloch" and be a "living hell" for people living locally.

However, it is not just locals who are concerned, as evidenced by the number of letters sent to the council protesting against it.

Others have raised fears that the vista of Loch Lomond would be affected - damaging both a stunning view and a tourist hotspot.

Additional traffic in the area is another concern.

Flamingo Land estimated an additional 253 cars would be on the road during rush hour times, from 17.30 until 18:30.

What has changed from the original proposal?

The original proposals were unanimously objected to by West Dunbartonshire Council.

However this time around the local authority have backed the proposal.

That change of heart has been greeted furiously by protestors.

The company has also said the new proposal would feature visitor accommodation and walkways sympathetic to the local environment, and that public access would be maintained throughout the site.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency requested that lodges were removed from part of the site designated as a flood plain and questioned whether proposals to mitigate the risk of floods were "technically feasible."

Flamingo Land stated in its plans that part of the site was exempt from the flood plain concern due to it having been in previous use as a railway line until the 1980s.

What benefits could Flamingo Land bring?


Flamingo Land and Lomond Banks believe there would be considerable benefits for the local community, starting with creating around 200 jobs.

They have stated that they would use local businesses throughout the construction of the development, which they estimate would raise £3m for the local economy.

The company has legally bound their promises for the area in a unilateral voluntary undertaking called "the Lomond Promise."

Improvements to transport in the Loch Lomond area would also be planned, upgrading the congested Stoneymollan roundabout.

Council papers state that the Ballochloan roundabout should be reprofiled as well, and that the overall development would become a "focal point" for Balloch.

The same papers praise the possible monorail in particular.

Who will make the final decision?

The Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park Authority will now decide whether to grant planning permission.

A spokeswoman for the park authority said it would consider the responses from West Dunbartonshire Council and new information on flooding and traffic matters.

She added: "We have a duty to formally notify the public and further consult with statutory consultees on this new information and will do so in the coming weeks.

“This will allow officers to progress with their assessment, prepare a report and make a recommendation to the National Park Authority Board."

A final decision would then be taken at a public meeting and hearing, but no date is set yet.