Lomond Banks Development

– in the Scottish Parliament on 22nd May 2019.

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Photo of Maurice Corry Maurice Corry Conservative

5. To ask the Scottish Government, in light of the potential impact on the local natural environment, what its position is on whether the proposed development at Lomond Banks near Balloch is an acceptable proposal for a national park. (S5O-03284)

Photo of Mairi Gougeon Mairi Gougeon Scottish National Party

As I am sure that the member will understand, ministers cannot comment on the specifics of the proposed development as it is a live planning case.

Photo of Maurice Corry Maurice Corry Conservative

Tourism does not mean that we have to have commercialisation at the expense of local residents’ quality of life. Does the minister agree that the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority must put the interests of residents of Balloch and the surrounding area first and foremost, particularly when VisitScotland’s “Trends 2018” document states that VisitScotland recognises that friendly locals add to a tourism experience, and that living in a tourist area has an impact on people’s lives?

Photo of Mairi Gougeon Mairi Gougeon Scottish National Party

I simply refer the member to my initial answer. I am sure that the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority will consider all relevant information pertaining to the case. I emphasise that it is for the national park authority, as the relevant planning authority, to determine the application, and that any development must be in keeping with the statutory aims of the national park and compliant with Scottish planning policy and the development plan.

Photo of Jackie Baillie Jackie Baillie Labour

About 20 years ago, Scottish Enterprise purchased the land for the proposed development for £2 million. I understand that it now intends to sell it for £200,000 to the Lomond Banks developers—a significant difference. Indeed, Lomond Banks is likely to receive a grant, so public funds could be used to pay it to develop the area. Does the minister regard that as an appropriate use of public resources? Will she consider with planning colleagues whether to call in the planning application, which would provide confidence in the decision-making process?

Photo of Mairi Gougeon Mairi Gougeon Scottish National Party

Again, I refer the member to my initial answer in which I said that this is a live planning case and that I simply cannot comment on it. On her second point, that would be a matter for the Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning to consider rather than me. If there are any particular issues that Jackie Baillie would like to raise, I urge her to submit a comment to the planning process to highlight them—indeed, I am sure that she has already done so.