Plans for £40m sustainable world-class tourism resort to be submitted in April

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.

Shaped by community, stakeholders including local business owners, and National Park feedback, the revised plans look to deliver a tourist location that has been specifically designed to complement the scenic landscape and existing businesses in the area.

Breaking away from its traditional portfolio of theme parks, the proposed Lomond Banks development will instead create a new accommodation led resort that will be devised to complement the local environment, whilst bringing much needed investment and job creation to an area which has been hard hit by the pandemic.

The proposals for West Riverside and Woodbank House, which is adjacent to Loch Lomond Shores, has for some time been identified for tourism development in the Local Development Plan, and is in line with the long-standing vision for the site that has been held by the local authority for more than 30 years.

The intention of the developers is to create a world-class waterfront tourist destination, which includes visitor accommodation and scenic walkways that are sympathetic to the local environment, with the freedom of public access still being maintained throughout the site and securing the long-term future of the derelict historic listed Woodbank House, currently on the Buildings at Risk Register.

The development will also provide learning and training opportunities for visitors and staff and will create close links to local schools and colleges, whilst developers work on a fairness and equality employment pledge to emphasise their commitment in the area.

Jim Paterson, Development Director for Lomond Banks, said: “Our environmental and commercial commitment to Balloch and West Riverside remains strong, and our proposed development comes at a time when economic investment and meaningful growth in the local tourism market is required. We want to complement what makes Loch Lomond so attractive to visitors, and our aim would be to invest locally, hire locally, and work with local businesses to maximise the benefits of the development for all.”

Damon Scott, Chief Executive, Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce said: “The creation of an appropriate development on the West Riverside has always been part of the regeneration plans to link Loch Lomond Shores with the village centre.

“Phase one has seen the transformation of derelict industrial land into one of Scotland’s leading visitor destinations and a gateway to Loch Lomond and the Highlands.

“The project has already been a successful catalyst for the wider regeneration of the area and Balloch has undergone an amazing transformation as a result of the continued work and investment of the public sector partners and private enterprise.

“The improvements in infrastructure and the compelling mix of shops, restaurants, activities, accommodation and other businesses in the village provides visitors with more reasons to come, stay longer and spend more.

“Loch Lomond Shores is now established as one of Scotland’s top visitor destinations attracting and managing over a million visitors sustainably and giving them access to the wonderful views of Loch Lomond and beyond.”

Scott was encouraged by the additional business engagement sessions that the Lomond Banks team took part in. He added: “The consultation sessions provided an important opportunity for our business community to build a clear understanding of the updated plans, ask questions and provide feedback to help shape the final version of the planning submission.

“The businesses found it an extremely valuable session and responded positively to the feedback around the local supply chain, business support, traffic and transport. They were also impressed by Lomond Bank’s commitment to sustainability and employability and willingness to get involved with and support the local business community across a number of levels.

“There was a recognition of the significant economic benefits the development would have for their own businesses and the wider area to create job opportunities and support skills development. The opportunity to link the village with Loch Lomond Shores and to encourage greater visitor flow was also seen as an important impact.”

The revised plans for West Riverside and Woodbank House will offer an opportunity for a unique leisure-based development that truly respects and complements the surrounding area, honouring its industrial past, improving biodiversity and protecting the natural woodland setting. These qualities are essential to the overall character of the development and the local area and central to the developer’s vision.

As well as removing any development from Drumkinnon Wood, 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.

Jim Paterson, 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 this forms and dictates 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.”

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