Planning committee members at Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park have come under fire for the way in which a controversial plan at a nature reserve was granted.

Proposals by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds to construct a footpath and seating at its reserve near Gartocharn have ruffled feathers after the plan was given the green light last week.

Opponents to the plan, who say there are enough paths in the area already, are angry that members did not have a site visit before agreeing to the proposals.

West Dunbartonshire Councillor Sally Paige, who represents Lomond, told the Reporter she was thoroughly disappointed in the planning committee members for not supporting an amendment from national park vice convener, Willie Nisbet, who urged members to visit the area before making a decision.

She said: "Committee members who live locally understand the value of the National Nature Reserve, and the other members could not even be bothered to come and have a look."

West Dunbartonshire Councillor Diane Docherty, Clydebank Central, who is a park authority board member, seconded Mr Nisbet's amendment.

Cllr Page said the approved proposal is subject to 17 planning restrictions, but added: "There is no provision for monitoring of the restrictions.

"Objectors called for an independent ecological clerk of works but that was dismissed.

"The RSPB's justification of a path is that it joins two paths together.

"We do not need any more paths, car parks or cafes that will diminish the quality of an internationally designated nature reserve."

The reserve consists of wetland, which attracts a range of wildfowl species, and extensive woodland which is an important breeding area for resident and summer-visiting birds.

A spokesman for the national park said: "This application for a new footpath, gates, planting and seating was carefully considered through a comprehensive planning report which was then subject to a detailed discussion at the committee meeting held online for the public to view.

"The meeting heard from the applicant speaking in support of the proposals and two members of the local community speaking in objection."

The spokesman added there were a number of questions from the committee members, before the vote was taken on whether or not to have a site visit.

He said: "The outcome was the application being approved subject to a number of conditions."

The RSPB did not respond to the Reporter's request for a comment.