By Nick Halls
In my last post (see here) on the torpedo station, I stated that the gates blocking the old main road were both locked, thereby preventing vehicles entering the area. Recently, the southern of the two gates has been burst open and badly damaged. It was ajar for a period and it was not clear whether this was ‘official’, and signified that fly tipping was being cleared, or that it had been ‘unofficially’ opened to allow further tipping to take place. The photographs here, taken on Saturday 15th April, give some impression of the current situation. The evidence seems to indicate that both situations seem to prevail.
The right-hand side of the southern gate has been more or less destroyed, and the left-hand side is off the hinges. It does not look as if this ‘official’, and adds to the impression of dereliction of the site, but in a very public place, right next to the main road.
The previous obstructions, which seem to be water filled road barriers, remain together with an old concrete post from a dismantled building. Again, this gives the impression of dereliction, destroying the landscape quality of what could be an attractive outlook to the opposite side of the Loch.
Inside the destroyed gate it would appear that either pedestrians or the occupant of a vehicle has thrown down litter as if in an urban street. It is very depressing to see this type of littering but it is in accord with how such derelict spaces are treated whether in an urban environment or the countryside. It is characteristic of the state of many of the parking places along Loch Lomond side and elsewhere in the National Park. Again, the whole scene destroys the quality of the outlook behind.
Immediately beyond the gate it appears that fly tipping from vehicles has taken place recently.
One gets the impression that fly tipping at this site is regular and is generated locally, and one would imagine that someone in the community is aware of the culprits. Only some sort of enforcement action is likely to reduce the progressive degeneration of the whole area.
Further along the road walking towards the derelict torpedo station there is further evidence of fly tipping of building debris – which suggests that this might be commercial tipping. See photo above and two below.
In the two photos above, the fly tipping along margin of the old main road leading north towards the derelict torpedo station appears to be very recent, since my last visit.
On the section of the old main road on either side of the bridge over the Allt a’Bhalachain, where two dumps of corrugated iron were shown in a previous report, these have now been cleared – in a pretty crude fashion – the scars of which will probably take some time to recover.
However, the material seems simply to have been transferred to the fly tipping area within the derelict industrial area of the torpedo station.
There is evidence of a rather crude and superficial attempt to clear fly tipped material from the what was formerly the main dumping ground. The work seems to be ongoing as there is a container, presumably awaiting to be used to remove material from the site.
However, while material is being cleared the amenity of the area is hardly improved, and the whole process gives the impression of doing the barest minimum to conform to the demand from the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park Authority to clear the site.
The quality of the work, whether complete or still in progress, gives the impression that the owner/contractor is doing the barest minimum and could not care less about the amenity of the area or that it lies within an area of outstanding scenic quality within a National Park.
Repeated visits to understand the situation that prevails brings it forcibly home that the derelict torpedo station will be very costly to clear up, as a brown field site, and equally costly to develop into the sort of tourist development presented in the planning application (see here).
It is hard to avoid the conclusion that this site will remain in a similar state for decades to come and that the M.O.D. should be compelled to tidy up the mess they left.
Despite the recent work to clear up the site the corrugated asbestos, featured in my last post, remains untouched so far.
The LLTNPA’s priorities are all wrong: it should be focussing its efforts and resources on environmental dereliction, fly tipping and the litter problem in the National Park instead of trying to ban innocent campers.