We held a ‘business breakfast’ at the National Park headquarters which provided an opportunity for local business owners and managers to get together and chat to us about what would make Balloch even better for them.
We were delighted to see so many local businesses keen to engage. From independent retailers to leisure operators – the varied range of interests led to an excellent discussion.
As with the other engagement sessions we’ve had, several common concerns and ideas were raised.
Parking seems to be an issue, both making sure we have enough parking spaces and being smarter in terms of how the existing car parks are being used and connected. This is a particular problem when big events are taking place.
Good links between Lomond Shores and the town are crucial, with businesses placing a strong emphasis on the need for good footpaths and lighting to make the connections safer and more attractive.
And how about an innovative approach to making the different attractions in Balloch easier to go between, such as electric vehicles or ‘duck boats’?
As with other discussion taking place (particularly online), Balloch Castle is a hot topic with business owners. It’s clear this is viewed as a real asset for the area and there was general agreement that bringing it back into use should be a priority. A high quality coffee shop or exhibition space was suggested, but it was also agreed that thought would need to be given to the sustainability of such a venture.
Signage was another point raised, and local businesses feel they would benefit from more comprehensive signs around the town – clear brown visitor signs off the A82, more specific signage within the town and enhanced visitor information along the national cycle route. To complement this, it was also suggested that a mobile phone app could be developed to give people instant access to a list of things to see and do in the town.
As you can see it was a varied discussion indeed and these are just a few of the ideas and issues that we touched upon.
A big thanks to everyone who took the time out of their morning to come along. We are listening, taking note and already thinking of ways in which your views will shape the outcome of the charrette and, more importantly, the long term future of Balloch.
– by Alison O’Kane, Policy Planning Officer at West Dunbartonshire Council