Scottish Green Party co-leader Patrick Harvie, a former Dumbarton Academy pupil, spoke out in Parliament last week in support of the community campaign calling on Scottish Enterprise to cancel their exclusive agreement with Flamingo Land for land at Balloch.

Despite Flamingo Land recently withdrawing their planning application for a controversial tourist resort, their exclusive right to buy the land still stands until at least December 2020.

After Finance Secretary Derek Mackay stated the only route communities can challenge exclusivity agreements - such as the agreement that gives Flamingo Land sole rights to buy the land - was through legal action, Harvie called for communities to be put “in the driving seat” in these cases.

Mackay concluded that public ownership “should be explored” and that “Everyone involved in the process should maybe reflect on the outcomes and on public opinion and the level of objections that was generated.”

West of Scotland Green MSP Ross Greer, who led the campaign against the proposals, said: “It’s clear that the future of the site should be decided by the community.

“We know Flamingo Land will be back and that their withdrawal of this application was little more than a cynical attempt to reset the process, voiding the 60,000 objections lodged against their plans.

“Their exclusivity agreement on this publicly owned land, which has already been extended, is an affront to local democracy. The community have made their feelings plain about Scottish Enterprise’s plans to sell the land off to Flamingo Land. Now it’s time to give local residents a chance to shape the site’s future.

“It’s important that ideas come from local people and that the community come together and decide what they want to see as an alternative.”