Ambitious plans to develop a dedicated outdoor swimming area on Loch Lomond should should not be dropped entirely - even if a £3million price tag makes it currently impossible.

West Dunbartonshire Council was asked to investigating the possibility of creating what's known as a 'lido' after four people lost their lives in the water last summer.

On July 23, Connor Markward, 16, drowned while swimming with friends near Balloch Park. A day later, at Pulpit Rock, Ardlui, Edina Olahova, 29, her son Rana Haris Ali, 9 and friend Muhammad Asim Raza, 41.

Conservative councillor Sally Page asked council officers to investigate the feasibility of creating a safe public outdoor swimming pool on the loch. 

Instead a report was brought before full council yesterday which recommended that as a result of the cost implications, no further action be taken in respect of any formation of the lido.

West Dunbartonshire councillors did, however, agree to engage with a professional consultant to deliver a water safety policy for the area which would cost £30,000.

Council leader Jonathan McColl said: “It is unfortunate to see the recommendations that we have today but I do think they are sensible. We are looking at significant costs just to engage with a consultant.

“It is estimated that the lido would cost at least £3m and upwards which is not affordable at this point.

"Engaging an officer to deliver a water safety policy is vitally important given the tragedies we have had on the whole of the loch.

“I think it is important we work with partners and neighbouring local authorities to try and deliver something as sensible as possible.”

It was also agreed that while the development of lido is not feasible currently, the proposals should not be forgotten completely. 

Cllr Page said after the meeting: “I am happy with the recommendations. The only disappointment in the council’s report was that there was no recommendation to seek partners to develop a supervised swimming area.

“A lottery bid, should it be successful, should cover the costs. I am grateful for the support to keep this one rolling and I am hoping that in the end makes it feasible to happen.”

Concerns were also raised about the life buoys that are continuously being thrown into the River Leven by vandals – potentially putting lives at risk.

Cllr McColl added: “I would like to flag up that we are all doing our best in terms of the water safety equipment and the life rings we have installed at various locations.

"But of course yet again we have seen the rings disappear from Bonhill Bridge and Lomond Bridge.

“We need to have discussions with the police and fire service about having some sort of monitoring system, even on a temporary basis, so that we can perhaps identify and catch the idiots that are doing this because it has to stop.

“I know our colleagues from fire and rescue were in canoes trying to obtain the equipment. They shouldn’t have to be doing this.”

Members agreed that action needed to be taken to keep the life belts safe from vandals and that the council should engage with the emergency services to see what can be done.