The curse of Loch Lomond: Will it strike again? – Bill Jamieson

When plans for a tourist development come complete with pastel-coloured artist’s impressions, scepticism is aroused. Thus it is with proposals for a new £30 million tourist development at Loch Lomond.

Should the bonnie banks be preserved in aspic? (Picture: Allan Milligan)
Should the bonnie banks be preserved in aspic? (Picture: Allan Milligan)

The plans include a 60-bedroom apart-hotel, 32-bedroom budget accommodation, a craft brewery, boat house, leisure centre and restaurants. There will also, we’re assured, be upgrades to public footpaths and green spaces.

The application has been put forward by Flamingo Land and Scottish Enterprise. Familiar? Balloch has long been seen as the gateway to Loch Lomond. But previous ambitious plans for nearby Loch Lomond Shores have foundered.

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It is almost as if the bonnie banks have a curse.

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Master plan for controversial Loch Lomond development

The area near Balloch would seem to lend itself to a popular, big-draw leisure complex with hotels and café bars.

But ambitious have had to contend with appropriateness issues, road access problems and opposition from national park loyalists. Environmentalists view the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond as a national icon and deserving of protection from intrusive development.

As a national park resident, I am minded to be cautious. There is much in the area around Balloch that can be improved and the approach to the loch made more attractive.

A low profile would be my advice, with road improvement made a priority for now. The road quality is poor, subject to long queues and deserving of uplift.