On Tuesday 5 November, Jackie Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton, spoke in a members’ debate brought forward by Ross Greer MSP, in support of the Save Loch Lomond campaign and the recent planning application by Flamingo Land to develop tourist accommodation at Balloch, on the shores of Loch Lomond.
Jackie Baillie came out in opposition to the Flamingo Land development following lengthy consideration of the pros and cons of the proposal, including the economic impact for the area; problems with the capacity of the A82 to take even greater volumes of traffic; and the impact on ancient woodland. Jackie has also been working for some time with the boat clubs on the River Leven trying to negotiate their lease of the river with Scottish Enterprise but agreement still remains elusive because of the Flamingo Land proposal.
Jackie Baillie said:
“I am pleased to have had the opportunity to publicly thank the Save Loch Lomond campaign and all the other local residents and community groups who urged Flamingo Land and Scottish Enterprise to rethink their proposals.
“I believe that local voices should be leading the way on such a significant development in our community and it is ultimately the responsibility of the Scottish Government to ensure that these voices are heard. Local people know what is best for our local economy and environment.
“The Scottish Government should instruct Scottish Enterprise to cancel their exclusivity agreement with Flamingo Land and in the meantime lift the shroud of secrecy that stops us from understanding what is exactly in the agreement. This would allow for discussions to begin about a community buy out, something the Scottish Government say that they encourage.
“I urge the Scottish Government to get a grip of this project and to end the absurdity of public money being used to pay Flamingo Land to come and take our land from us, which no one appears to want. After all, the community is prepared to do it for free—surely that would be a better return for our money.”