THE controversial proposals for a major tourism and leisure development on the shores of Loch Lomond will be a “huge improvement” to the local economy.

That’s the view of Malcolm Pearson, who acted as the property agent when the Flamingo Land development site, on the west shore of the River Leven and around Loch Lomond Shores, was sold in 2015.

Mr Pearson – who said he was “astonished” at the number of people who objected to “something they know nothing about” – contacted the Reporter after Balloch resident Bruce Biddulph raised questions about the transparency of the sale of the land.

Mr Pearson, from Rhu, said: “The aim of this development is to improve the offer at Balloch, whilst also trying to improve visitor numbers in the evenings and also over the winter months.

“In 2015 the development opportunity was placed on the open market. 

“The marketing material clearly stated that Scottish Enterprise, in partnership with Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority, were promoting West Riverside and the undeveloped sites within Loch Lomond Shores for tourism and leisure-based developments. 

“The sensitivity of developing in the national park was paramount in arriving at the decision to proceed with Iconic/Flamingo Land.

“I would appeal to local people to support this development. It will be a huge improvement for the area in terms of job opportunities and the local economy.”

Mr Biddulph, however, said he still had concerns over the sale of the land.

He said: “Whilst I recognise and fully accept Mr Pearson’s view and that what he says is correct in terms of the development being ‘marketed’, my issue is that locally the ‘selling’ of this idea was indeed carried out in such a manner that we woke up to a ‘sale’ and not to a development.

“The general public were not fully aware this was a sell-off of the riverbank, woods and Drumkinnon Bay.

“I have no arguments with Mr Pearson himself. I have every argument with Scottish Enterprise and the manner of this sale.”