NEARLY 300 people attended a heated meeting about the future of Loch Lomond.

Balloch residents were on hand at Alexandria Parish Church in the village to voice their disapproval at plans by Yorkshire-based theme park firm Flamingo Land, in an event put together by campaign group Save Loch Lomond.

In total, 267 people turned out to voice their opinions on the controversial development.

The company, along with Scottish Enterprise - the commercial arm of the Scottish Government - have submitted an application to develop a swathe of the southern tip of the Loch.

A 60-room hotel will be built as part of the plans, along with a distillery, a water park, and more than 100 different self-catering lodges.

The plans are to be decided on by the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park Authority, however a date has not been set for the meeting to take place.

Throughout the entire two-hour session, not one of the residents or the politicians and experts on the panel voiced their approval for the plans, which West Dunbartonshire Council could be set to back at a council meeting tonight.

The application has become the "least popular in Scottish History" according to Green Party MSP Ross Greer, who started a petition against the plans which has garnered 56,000 signatures to date.

In his opening statement on Monday, Mr Greer said the decision was about more than economic development and environmental conservation - it was about the ownership of Scotland's public land.

He told the meeting: "This is the most unpopular planning application in Scottish history, and I think that really demonstrates the strength of feeling not just in this community but across Scotland.

"We've got environmental and economic concerns about this, but there's also a fundamental question about who owns Scotland.

"This is going to be built in a world-famous national park. Selling it off to a private developer means profits made as part of that development will be taken out of this community.

"This is a Yorkshire-based developer, this is not about community benefit."

Mr Greer was also clear that any objections would have to be material to planning regulations of the authority to be able to make a difference.

Joining the Green MSP at the meeting were fellow Holyrood colleagues Maurice Corry and Jackie Baillie, of the Conservatives and the Labour Party respectively.

West Dunbartonshire Councillors Jim Bollan of the Community Party and Sally Page of the Conservatives were also in attendance, along with Nick Kempe of Parkwatch Scotland.

Mr Bollan said the residents of the area who oppose the development should consider a more direct approach if they don't get what they want.

He said: "When the establishment, which the National Park Authority is part of, tries to silence you and do what they want, it is your democratic right to take non-violent direct action against them.

"We've done it in the past, and hopefully it doesn't come to it and we get what we want, but the community should consider that as an option."

Ms Baillie, who was recently elected as the chair of MSPs on Scottish Labour's Executive Committee, questioned the sale of the land.

The Dumbarton MSP said the land had been purchased by Scottish Enterprise for more than £2 milllion, before being sold to Flamingo Land for a mere £200,000.

She said: "Scottish Enterprise bought this land for over £2 million, they're now selling it for just £200,000.

"The truth is, they've probably spent that same sum of money for all the site investigations and visits that they are funding along side the developer.

"I've no doubt, they will be given grants or loans at the end of the process, so it is fairly ridiculous that you as taxpayers are paying for a development that you potentially don't want."

Rory McLeod, the chair of Monday's meeting and a member of Save Loch Lomond, has requested a chance to speak to West Dunbartonshire Council's meeting tonight for himself and his delegation.

Councillor Bollan and Mr Greer urged residents to round up as many people as they could and "flood the meeting" at the council offices on Church Street in Dumbarton at 6pm tonight.