An MSP has claimed another major milestone in his continuing battle to safeguard a pristine area of shore and woodland on Loch Lomond near Balloch.

A petition launched by Green MSP Ross Greer, which calls on landowner Scottish Enterprise to end its exclusive agreement with resort operator Flamingo Land, has hit its initial target of 10,000 signatures.

An earlier petition by Mr Greer calling on National Park planners to reject the company's application for a resort at the site drew massive public support with almost 60,000 signatures, leading the MSP to say the planning bid was the most unpopular in Scottish history.

Although the application was withdrawn by Flamingo Land, the MSP is now calling on Scottish Enterprise to end its exclusive agreement with the company over the sale of the site and give residents a chance to bring the area into community ownership.

He said: "While Flamingo Land withdrew their controversial application for a major tourist land in Balloch last year after a record number of objections, they still have an exclusivity agreement with landowners Scottish Enterprise, a Scottish Government agency.

"This agreement gives Flamingo Land exclusive rights to purchase the land until the end of 2020, having already been extended by two years.

"Should Flamingo Land want to lodge another application, it is increasingly likely that they will need a further extension."

Mr Greer said the agreement prevents other potential owners, including community groups, from advancing alternative options for the site.

A well-attended meeting last year had revealed, he said, a range of alternative ideas that would protect the ancient woodland, contribute to tackling the climate crisis and support the economy.

Mr Greer added: “On top of the record-breaking number of objections to Flamingo Land’s plans for Loch Lomond we now have a massive - and growing - response to our petition to keep the site in public hands.

“This is really important. If Flamingo Land still want a development it’s likely they’ll ask Scottish Enterprise for another extension.

"Even if they announce plans now, they’d have little hope of getting planning permission by the end of this year.

"That means that it’s in the hands of Scottish Enterprise and their bosses in the Scottish Government.

"If they want to, they can save Loch Lomond by refusing to renew the agreement. I hope they listen to the community and others who have supported our petition.”

Mr Greer's comments come as the Loch Lomond tourism economy has taken a massive downturn as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

A Scottish Enterprise spokesman said: “The site at West Riverside has the potential to attract considerable inward investment, creating jobs and a much-needed tourism boost for West Dunbartonshire.

“We are now considering next steps for the site and it is essential – particularly as we face into the post-coronavirus economic landscape – that we ensure the most viable and appropriate solution to maximise the economic opportunities for the area.”