THE developer behind the proposed £40 million Lomond Banks tourism project in Balloch has delivered a legally binding promise to the National Park Authority that contractually obliges the company to deliver on commitments made to the local community during the pre-application consultation process.
The legal document – labelled ‘The Lomond Promise’ – commits the developer to vows made relating to employment and training, supporting local businesses and supply chain, as well as measures to maintain and conserve the ancient woodland of Drumkinnon Wood.
Commitment to maintaining access, providing sustainable transport measures, and efforts to manage anti-social behaviour are also outlined.
These promises come in response to issues raised by the community during the process and aims to reassure locals that the developer is committed to making a positive impact to the local area.
The contract states that the undertakings it contains are made entirely without prejudice to the planning process. However, if planning permission for Lomond Banks is granted, The Lomond Promise will provide the National Park Authority with additional means of securing developer performance on the range of community issues which it covers, over and above any statutory planning conditions and obligations the authority might decide to attach to its decision notice.
“The Lomond Promise removes any doubt that may exist within the local community about our intentions for the site in the long term and demonstrates our commitment to being an active and responsible participant of the Balloch business community,” said Jim Paterson, development director for Lomond Banks. “It is very clear in this situation that the community and their thoughts around our proposed development must be heard and properly considered, so we have directly addressed those concerns by providing the community with what is essentially a contractual guarantee that the measures we have put forward will be delivered.
“The Lomond Promise sets out a legally binding contract that should planning permission in principle be granted, we will be legally obliged to implement its terms as part of the development. We are steadfast in our belief that we can bring considerable economic and social benefit to Balloch and the wider area with our proposed development, not to mention a much-loved tourism destination that will revitalise the gateway to Loch Lomond and offer a wider boost to existing businesses that already operate here.”
Concerns over the potential impact of the development on the ancient woodland of Drumkinnon Wood have also been addressed as part of the promise, which states that a Woodland Management Plan for the protection, maintenance and enhancement of Drumkinnon Wood and the informal woodland path network would be introduced.
Traffic impact has also been a further issue raised during the planning process and The Lomond Promise confirmed that Lomond Banks will put a strong focus on this matter, joining forces to support a sustainable travel plan, and actively encourage other means of transport.
Jim Paterson added, “Whilst our transport assessments have demonstrated that the impact of our development on the surrounding road networks would be minimal, we appreciate that the potential for increased traffic flows across the road network remain an ongoing concern for residents.
“Our Lomond Promise commits us to joining a steering group to work through a sustainable travel plan for the area to find a long-term solution to the issues. Amongst other measures we have also committed to exploring all opportunities to provide integrated bus and / or rail travel tickets to the development to reduce private car usage and alleviate some of these concerns.”