Fifty-five thousand people have formally objected to Flamingo Land’s Balloch resort plans - the most unpopular proposal in Scottish history. Why? Because selling off public land in our world famous national park, for the sake of a private developer’s profit margins, isn’t what we need.

Flamingo Land’s own environmental impact assessment shows clearly why the National Park’s board should reject. Damage to ancient woodland, water pollution, red squirrel and otter fatalities are striking admissions. And that’s after making very optimistic assumptions about their mitigation measures.

And residents are seriously concerned about traffic congestion. Flamingo Land have even suggested the possibility of routing traffic through Bonhill and Jamestown, totally defeating the point of having a bypass.

Flamingo Land will have to persuade the National Park that ‘overriding public interest’ should allow them to get around existing environmental protection rules. The overriding interest they’ve chosen, jobs, fell apart as this saga has gone on. Flamingo Land are now offering less than half of the jobs they originally promised. Their own assessment notes that 75 per cent of those jobs would be created even if their development didn’t go ahead.

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This is not the only option for local job creation, and there are others needing the kind of support Flamingo Land have received from the Scottish Government. Growing the recent success of film and TV based tourism and the proposed Turkey Red heritage centre and café in Alexandria are just two examples I’m already supporting.

Our communities deserve better than the employment conditions Flamingo Land are known for down south. Just last week they failed to rule out taking on contractors who use zero-hour contracts. Instead of spending more time and public money helping Flamingo Land, the government’s enterprise agency need to get behind the brilliant local projects which would create jobs and keep profits in the community.

Easy access to Loch Lomond is one of the things which makes Balloch really special. Any family who can manage the bus or train there can have a day out at the loch. A 50 acre private resort, with 125 holiday lodges and a hotel, is a direct threat to that, no matter how many promises they make not to lock the gates.

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Scotland’s record for selling off huge swathes of public land is already a dismal one. Why on Earth do we want to add the most accessible part of Loch Lomond to that list? Let’s put our environment and our communities first this time.