April date proposed to allow for ongoing biodiversity studies to inform the proposals
Plans for a £40m sustainable, world class tourist destination on the banks of Loch Lomond, are now set to be submitted at the end of April 2022, driving forward the planning application for the proposed Balloch resort covering West Riverside and the Woodbank House Estate.
The team at Lomond Banks have firmed up their target date for submission to the National Park Authority to allow the results of ongoing biodiversity surveys to be incorporated into the designs being put forward.
Lomond Banks undertook an extended period of consultation with the local community as well as key businesses and stakeholders throughout 2021 which has helped to shape the plans, including the removal of any development in the ancient woodland of Drumkinnon Wood.
In parallel to this, the developers have instructed more detailed ecological studies of the area to ensure that the important wildlife assets across Woodbank and West Riverside are incorporated into the designs from the outset, and not considered as a bolt-on.
Included within this, are surveys for birds (including for the first time a study of wintering birds on Loch Lomond and the River Leven), red squirrel and hibernating bats, all of which will conclude at the end of February. Following these, assessments will be made and designs finalised ahead of submission in April.
Surveys have already indicated summer roosting bats within areas of the site, and suitability for hibernation, so further studies were commissioned in line with national guidance to ensure the bats can be accommodated moving forward.
Applied Ecology Ltd has been carrying out detailed survey work since April 2021. Their work has identified exciting opportunities for environmental education and interpretation as part of the proposals, as well as areas for biodiversity enhancement. In particular, AEL has highlighted the importance of the ancient woodland resource within Drumkinnon Wood, especially its carpets of native bluebells. The proposed plans have been adjusted to reflect these most recent survey results.
Jim Paterson, Development Director for Flamingo Land, the people behind Lomond Banks, added: “It is clear that if we are truly committed to creating a sustainable world-class resort that celebrates the wildlife and biodiversity of Loch Lomond, that we conduct further, more extensive studies to ensure these form and dictate key elements of our proposals and we are excited to progress plans that are forward-thinking to ensure the natural beauty of the area can be celebrated for many generations to come.”
Further information and FAQs on Lomond Banks can also be found at www.lomondbanks.com/consultation