WHAT started as a night of chaos and confusion became one of euphoria for activists fighting against the the proposed Flamingo Land development.

Campaigners packed the public gallery at West Dunbartonshire Council's officer in Dumbarton's Church Street to hear if the council would back the plans, which are to be decided on by Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park.

Under the proposals, a 60 bed apartment hotel, brewery, water park and over 100 self-catering lodges would be built, as well as a monorail between the site - on the southern tip of Loch Lomond - and Station Square in Balloch.

The land was purchased by Flamingo Land from Scottish Enterprise for a reported £200,000, after the commercial arm of the Scottish Government purchased it for £2 million - before Scottish Enterprise became a joint applicant in the project.

Despite roughly 30 people being admitted to the gallery, the Reporter could see at least 20 who were left waiting in the entrance way of the building.

Reports from councillors and members of the public say the number could have been as high as 50, however this could not be verified.

As the meeting began, Labour councillor Douglas McAllister interrupted the Provost, calling for a 15 minute recess to allow space to be made for those stuck outside.

The recess was agreed to, but Provost William Hendrie has the final say on who is allowed into the meeting, which resumed after the break without the admittance of anyone still outside.

Provost Hendrie told the Reporter after the meeting he had made the decision due to a past bad experience.

He said: "Once before we have had members of the public downstairs, in the chamber itself, and it caused a lot of disruption.

"They had speakers at the meeting who would be able to put their point across, so I didn't feel the need to let them in.

"I wouldn't have members of the public downstairs now."

Community Party councillor Jim Bollan loudly proclaimed the decision to be "a disgrace".

He added: "We knew that there would be a large amount of members of the public, who would want to hear about the Flamingo Land application.

"There are more people inside than there are outside. We're supposed to be an open, democratic body."

Following the decision to not admit the public, the meeting began in earnest, with a briefing from planning officer Pamela Clifford, who walked members through the application, as well as the proposed response put forward by officers.

During the briefing, the barred residents could be heard shouting in protest, and singing the folk song The Bonnie Banks o' Loch Lomond, so loudly it could be heard in the chamber.

There followed impassioned representations activists Alexander Perrie along with Rory McLeod and Sam Payton of Save Loch Lomond.

Again, tempers flared when questions were asked from the SNP benches towards members of Save Loch Lomond, with councillors saying they were not individually invited to a well attended public meeting at Alexandria Parish Church in the run up to the council's decision.

Ms Payton, clearly irritated by the statement, said: "The meeting was a public one, and as such everyone was invited. There was an invitation sent directly to (council leader) McColl, but other than that, any of you would have been welcomed to the meeting."

Ms Payton also wondered what the question had to do with the application or the position of the group on the plans.

Anger rose again in the chamber just seconds later, when councillor Ian Dickson said he had been barred from engaging with the group when he tried to access the Facebook page it uses to rally support.

It was at this point that a member of the group, Alannah Maurer - who was not slated to speak - stepped in to wonder aloud what the point of the statement from Mr Dickson was in the context of the meeting.

The meeting quickly calmed when a motion was tabled by council leader Jonathan McColl.

The leader urged councillors that, while the development would bring a boost in tourism for Balloch "overdevelopment is a significant risk and we must not fall into the trap of grabbing something shiny without properly considering the true impact".

Councillor McColl went on to list a number of reasons why the SNP group object to the plans, including the overdevelopment of the site, the size of the project and the environmental impact.

In his three page response the SNP boss argued against the position of council officers, instead opting to oppose the plans, and submit a response which urges the national park authority to throw out the proposals.

On top of the objection, the motion instructed the council to write to the Scottish Government, asking them to intervene in the sale of the land from Scottish Enterprise to Flamingo Land, as well as - if the national park authority refuses the application - write to Scottish ministers to bolster the fight against any appeal from the applicant.

Councillor Bollan and Labour group leader Martin Rooney also added amendments, which were quickly included by councillor McColl.

The Community Party member's motion re-affirmed the opposition to the proposal, as well as calling on the Scottish Government to call in the application, given the nearly 57,000 objections which have already been lodged by members of the public.

The motion was passed without any opposition.

So easy was the process, that members of the public in the gallery called down to councillors on the floor when they tried to move on to the next item.

They shouted "you haven't voted" and "what happened".

Councillor Ian Dickson, who was trying to detail the next item on the agenda, was forced to settle the confusion by telling members of the public "the motion is agreed", to the applause and yells of those looking on.

A spokeswoman for West Dunbartonshire Council said: "Following the Council meeting last night the Council will now be submitting an objection to the consultation received from the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority regarding the planning application at West Riverside and Woodbank House, Balloch."