The summer holidays have arrived and I hope you enjoy some time off over the next few weeks. While the council meetings stop in July, last month’s meeting was dominated by the council’s response to the proposed development by Flamingo Land.

You may be aware that the council has decided to formally object to the proposal following extensive lobbying from local constituents who either did not welcome the development in Balloch at all, or had specific concerns at the infrastructure of the area namely the limitations of the A82 (pictured right).

We are all too aware of the problems we face on a busy summer weekend with additional tourist traffic. In fact, the recent emergency work by Scottish Gas in Glasgow Road has added significant disruption to the local road network and unfortunately a loss of trade for some of our local business in the Dumbarton East area.

Labour councillors’ main concern about the development was that the number of actual jobs proposed does not appear to match early promises and the traffic and parking issues travelling to and from Balloch.

Read more: OPINION Councillor Karen Conaghan: Roadworks are bringing people closer

To ensure we can welcome further development later, Labour is calling for major investment of the A82 and we have called on the SNP council administration to lobby the Scottish Government for major road funding.

Residents should note the final decision on the development will made by Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park and if you wish to oppose or support this development you are welcome to make a comment on the application, either for or against the proposals.

Although the statutory deadline for making comments passed on July 2, the consultation period will remain open and public comments can continue to be submitted until the planning officer makes a recommendation on the proposal.

If you want your views to be taken into consideration during the decision-making process, it is important to make comments to us directly, stating your full name and address.

To conclude, the Summer holidays can be an extremely difficult time for parents and guardians to keep children amused and occupied. Yet more importantly, we know holiday hunger is a real problem when pupils have no access to school meals.

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This year the council is assisting local voluntary organisations that are providing organised activities with free breakfast or lunches.

It is early days, but Labour proposed a more far reaching scheme which would have ensured a unified service throughout West Dunbartonshire.

The current arrangements rely heavily on voluntary groups, there is good coverage of the area, and I hope parents and pupils have been made fully aware of what is available in their locality.