GREEN campaigners gathered to rally against the proposed Flamingo Land development at Balloch on Saturday.

Around 100 protestors attended the event to hear speakers voice their concerns about the controversial plans, currently in the planning application in principle phase.

The proposed £30million development includes a 60-bedroom apart-hotel, 32-bedspace budget accommodation, up to 105 self-catering lodges and a leisure/pool/water park area.

Ross Greer, West Scotland MSP, Lomond councillor Sally Page, and Nick Kempe, of Park Watch Scotland, spoke at the gathering, and a statement of support from mountaineer and TV show host Cameron McNeish was also read to the crowds.

A Save Loch Lomond representative told the Reporter the rally was aimed at spreading the message to those in the area who may not yet have heard about the proposed plans.

“We’ve been talking about doing a rally for a while,” they said. “We decided we want to raise the profile.

“This is a national park. There’s been no national information campaign. It’s bringing everyone together.”

Mr Greer has previously made his worries clear regarding the proposed development’s impact on the environment – and hit his message home again on Saturday.

The Green Party politician said before the event: “When the developers’ own assessment outlines unavoidable and extensive damage to ancient woodland and to valuable wildlife habitats, alarm bells should ring.

“Residents need to get their objections in to the national park board immediately to ensure that their voices are heard.”

Speaking after the event, Ms Page said: “We must not get carried away with emotions running high, the only way to address this application is through the national park planning committee and the SNP Scottish Government at Holyrood.”

Andy Miller, director of sales at Flamingo Land, has reiterated that they will work to minimise concerns.

He explained: “Flamingo Land look after critically endangered animals and support conservation projects in Tanzania. It would be hypocritical if we don’t do our utmost to minimise any potential disruption.

“With any development there will be a degree of disruption you can’t avoid, however you can minimise it.”

Derek McCrindle, head of business infrastructure at Scottish Enterprise, stressed the “huge economic potential through the creation of welcome new jobs in the area”.

He added: “Any proposed development would be in keeping with the National Park and its natural beauty.

“Engagement and consultation with the local community is a vital element of how we collectively move this significant economic opportunity forward.”

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park Authority provided the following statement: “The West Riverside planning application is currently in the planning assessment phase where we review responses and advice from all the statutory consultees on this application.

"In addition we have received a high volume of comments on the application from members of the public. All responses and comments received will be taken into account in the consideration of the application.

“To allow us to conclude our assessment we have requested further information from the applicant.

"When this information is received there will be a process of re-consultation with the relevant statutory consultees. Those who have submitted a representation to the application will also be informed and have a further opportunity to comment on the proposal. Any new information received will be published on application’s page on the e-planning portal.

“As you can imagine, an application of this scale takes a significant amount of time to assess and determine. Given where we are in the process, we are not currently in a position to advise of a determination date. We will publicise the date of this meeting once it is confirmed and everyone who has submitted a representation to the application will be informed.”