From the peak of Ben Vorlich you can see Loch Lomond, almost, in its entirety.
The islands of Inchlonaig, Inchfad, Inchconnachan and their smaller neighbours; the point of Ben Lomond’s peak on its eastern bank; the villages of West Dunbartonshire at its southern apex.
It’s a belter of a view; one that shows one of Scotland’s two national parks in its full glory – a wilderness easily accessible to millions of Scots.
It’s no surprise that hospitality giants, and indeed the Scottish Government, want to cash in on this paradise.
In 2019, Flamingo Land, a Yorkshire-based theme park operator, tabled plans to build a resort on the southern shores of the loch in the Balloch area, complete with a 60-bed hotel, more than 100 holiday lodges and a water park.
Ross Greer, an MSP for the Scottish Greens and a vocal opponent of the plans, described the move as “unwelcome, deeply inappropriate for Loch Lomond” adding that “it would have caused substantial environmental damage whilst creating just a fraction of the jobs they had originally promised.”
The crass plans were rejected after 60,000 signed a petition tabled by the Scottish Greens objecting to the plans, making it the most unpopular proposal in Scottish history. Officials at Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park and West Dunbartonshire also opposed the move.
And yet, two years on, unable to take ‘no thanks’ for an answer, Flamingo Land, in partnership with Scottish Enterprise, has returned to the negotiating table with ‘new’ plans for their proposed Lomond Banks resort.
According to a press release the site would be “a world-class waterfront tourist destination which includes visitor accommodation and scenic walkways that are sympathetic to the local environment”.
Critics of the new plans have described the new proposal as “a rehash of the first”.
Jim Paterson, development director for the project, insists that Flamingo Land has “listened to the issues raised around the original proposal and with further feedback will look to make some important, very significant, amendments to the plans to ensure Lomond Banks will be in keeping with its environment”.
He added: “We have listened to the issues raised around the original proposal and with further feedback will look to make some important, very significant, amendments to the plans to ensure Lomond Banks will be in keeping with its environment.”
Paterson, Flamingo Land and the Scottish Government, who agreed an exclusive agreement to develop the site and leased the land, would do well to actually listen to the people of West Dunbartonshire and Scotland, and abandon the plans altogether.
The proposal rejected in 2019 said it would take five years to build the resort.
I hope if I return to the peak of Ben Vorlich in 2026 my views of wonderful Loch Lomond are not obscured.