Shifting National Park policy on Flamingo Land

December 9, 2017 Nick Kempe 3 comments
Map of Flamingo Land proposal showing Drumkinnon Woods

This post takes a look at the current Flamingo Land proposal for the riverside site (reddish area above) against the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park Authority’s policy for the area, as set out in various plans.   This reveals several shifts in policy in the last year.

The National Park Development Plan, approved by the Scottish Government earlier this year, included this map for Balloch.  NO development was envisaged for Drumkinnon Woods.  The Flamingo Land proposal for woodland walkways and holiday lodges in those woods is therefore contrary to the Development Plan.

Why are Flamingo Land therefore proposing to develop Drumkinnon Woods?   Well, they know the Loch Lomond and National Park Authority is under significant pressure from the Scottish Government to ensure development of the Riverside Site and certain other sites in the National Park to promote economic development.  That pressure was reflected in the DRAFT National Park Partnership Plan which contained this commitment:

The word “Delivery” is very strong and meant the LLTNPA was committing itself to complete developments in Balloch within the next five years.  It put Flamingo Land in a very strong position because, if they threatened to walk away, the LLTNPA would miss its target with all the repercussions that would have for its relationship with the Scottish Government.  It was an invitation to Flamingo Land to ignore the Development Plan.

It was a pleasant surprise therefore to see this in te revised National Park Partnership Plan to be considered by Board Members on Monday:


Instead of delivering key sites, the Plan now says the LLTNPA  will “support” developments.  What’s more the extract for Balloch (left) places the focus on the vision developed in the charrette (a community developed plan) and that again only proposed development for part of the Riverside site (see below).

Now the change of wording may only be because, having sat on the interview panel which selected Flamingo Land as the preferred developer, the LLTNPA might be open to legal challenge if it explicitly committed to delivering a development on the Riverside Site. It does however create the possibility for alternative plans to be developed.   A small positive step in the right direction.

The Charrette vision looks very different to Flamingo Land’s current proposal

Critics of the Flamingo Land proposals however need to appreciate that the LLTNPA has a history of fitting policy to developments (ignoring policy on wild land, landscape, nature designations to allow developments to go ahead) rather than ensuring developments fit with policy and planning objectives.   The challenge at Riverside is to ensure the LLTNPA sticks to its policy and statutory objectives.

3 Comments on “Shifting National Park policy on Flamingo Land

  1. Good work Nick. I would remind people that The River Leven is incorporated within The Management Strategy For The Endrick Water SAC…..SPECIAL AREA FOR CONSERVATION FOR ATLANTIC SALMON. See SNH Stirling for the latest information about that. SNH Clydebank also have an interest downstream of the barrage/NP Boundary. Significant adverse impacts have already arisen in this area of the River Leven. amounting to the total loss of Atlantic Salmon natural habitat. First, there is the historical legacy of industrial dereliction…which affects the whole of the River Leven. Second, there is the significant adverse impact of the Barrage…which has significantly altered natural water flows upstream and downstream of the Barrage…affecting salmon runs, bank erosion and the dilution and dispersion of pollutants. The area above the Barrage has been reduced to a still-water…resulting in the total loss of Atlantic Salmon spawning habitat. Thirdly, the area above the Barrage is being treated as a boatyard. A high number of boats, large amounts of boating equipment, such as pontoon moorings, and boating premises have been encouraged to concentrate and accumulated in this area at the expense of Atlantic Salmon habitat and the natural habitat in general. No research has been done to discover how much boat garbage and oil they dump into the water…but anglers get to find that out when the Barrage is opened and all of their boat garbage and oil is swept downstream and into The River Clyde, eventually. The solution for this problem is obvious. Loch Lomond has the largest surface area of any water in Britain. Large, densely packed, concentrations of boats should be broken up and dispersed throughout The Loch. That would minimise their adverse impacts on the natural habitat in general and on Atlantic Salmon habitat, in particular.
    To be precise….the evidence based management of Atlantic Salmon habitat is totally in keeping with the Management Strategy for the Endrick SAC and the First Aim of the National Park. That includes provisions for all of the factors affecting Atlantic Salmon….IN STREAM AND BANK SIDE. Both affect the production and the reproduction of Atlantic Salmon. As things stand the conservation status of Atlantic Salmon stocks within the Loch Lomond/River Leven catchment is low and approaching extinction. Mandatory catch and release of Atlantic Salmon has been proposed. (It should also be noted that The NP, amongst others, support the plans to dig up the River Leven and turn it into a canal.)
    NASCO…the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organisation (by International Treaty), has declared 2019 as the International Year of the Salmon.

    1. Thanks James, the National Park should be doing work on this. There is one mention of salmon in the National Park Partnership Pla: “The area also holds strategically important populations of species, such as Atlantic salmon, golden eagle and red squirrel; and habitats of high biodiversity value, like native oakwoods and peatlands, which contribute to a national ecological network. Wildlife species are an integral part of the natural environment and people’s connection with it.” There is NOTHING in the plan to say the species is threatened in the National Park or what the Park Authority will do about it:

  2. The National Park is a misnomer.
    Rather it should be called the Nation Park Real Estate and Shopping Centre Authority and it stands alone in World terms in what it is trying to do to the natural environment.
    Slowly but surely the NP is being turned into what can only be described as Commercial Sprawl. Like many a golf course the visitor heritage elements are no more than a thinly disguised Trojan Horse to permit full scale commercial development. Supermarkets, retail outlets, real estate is the name of the game.
    And as for the much vaunted jobs well they are of the zero hour minimum wage clean the chalet or waitress the food type jobs so far removed from the concept of a National Park of natural beauty as one could imagine.
    And as for money changing land let us not forget that this is Prime development land. The Estate agents hoarding declare that with its proud amendment that the land is “ under offer “
    Recognising that a 970 square metre plot of land to build a house on Old Luss Road is being offered at offers over £195k one realises that this prices the Riverside Development land at something like £40 million pounds. But will Flamingo Land pay £40 million for this land. I’m sure they won’t, they probably get it for nothing on the promise of a few retail and lavatory attendant jobs. But we won’t know because it’s a secret, a dirty secret that the hapless taxpaying citizen has no right to know about.
    The Thatcherite Dell Boys most certainly have their stover in here and know it. High time the SG and their local representatives were required to explain why they are more Thatcherite than Thatcher in their pursuit of privatisation of the Loch.

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