On Wednesday, a day after posting an email from Strathard Community Council saying its members had voted not to object to the planning application, the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park Authority published a Report recommending approval of the application by its Planning Committee. This will meet on Monday 26th September (conveniently on a holiday Monday when many West of Scotland campers will be out camping!).
While it will be interesting to see what undertaking the LLTNPA have given to Strathard Community Council – and indeed what if anything has been put in writing – the representations from the Community Council and public campaigning have resulted in some changes to the scheme. The most positive changes are the Park has dropped its daft idea of camping platforms on the hillside – one wonders if any of the staff behind this proposal had ever slept in a tent! – and the shipping containers which were going to be covered with some very expensive photographs are now going to be clad with larch panels.
Most people I suspect will think wood cladded containers will be an improvement on the di-bond panels but just why does the LLTNPA need to join the international market for used shipping containers rather than paying a local business to construct the toilet blocks out of locally sourced materials?
The LLTNPA has also reduced the size of the campsite from 33 to 26 pitches – well above the peak number of tents ever recorded for camping on ALL the places where people camp around Loch Chon. Now while I objected to the size of the campsite at Loch Chon, the reduction in places without the creation of new places elsewhere (and there needs to be a network of SMALL campsites through the Trossachs, camping byelaws or not) will simply reduce the total amount of camping that can take place in Strathard. Indeed, what I don’t think people have appreciated yet is that because there are NO campervan places on the development overnight stays in campervans on Strathard will become completely unlawful. (The only other place in Strathard where it appears overnight stays will be allowed is on the south shore of Loch Ard in a location inaccessible to vehicles).
So,the LLTNPA in effect wants to ban campervans from one entire section of the National Park. Does the LLTNPA Board understand nothing about current trends in tourism or how people are enjoying the countryside? Luckily, unless the Park spends even more on ranger patrols than it does at present (the rangers currently only patrol Strathard at weekends and stop work at 10pm) this, like the rest of the byelaws, is likely to be unenforceable.
The flawed logic in the Planning Committee report
40 individual trees and 3 tree groups require pruning or removal;
Semi-mature birch trees requiring removal are low or moderate quality trees of
less than 20 years of age and the design proposals provide compensatory
planting to offset the loss of trees;
Of the trees surveyed, 20 are regarded as important and require special
consideration during construction.”