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PRESS RELEASE: National Park steps up enforcement action on unauthorised development

Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority has taken further action to stop unauthorised development on an environmentally sensitive area of land.

A Temporary Stop Notice has been issued in relation to unauthorised works recently carried out on land between Stroneslaney Road and the River Balvaig near Balquhidder. No planning permission has been sought or granted for the work.

The Park Authority, in a statement earlier this year, highlighted concern over the marketing of small plots of land for sale at this location following a similar situation where enforcement steps were necessary at another site near Gartocharn.

These plots are in an area at risk of flooding so any development would be unlikely to receive planning permission. Despite engagement with the landowner and agent selling the plots to make these constraints clear, a number of plots have been sold and unauthorised engineering works have now been carried out on the site.

With further plots continuing to be marketed at auction, the Park Authority is again warning potential buyers to beware of buying plots of land which are not suitable for development.

Stuart Mearns, Director of Place at the National Park Authority said: “We, along with the local community, are deeply concerned that work has commenced on this land.

“This development activity has not been authorised and is on an area of land which has a number of environmentally important qualities which mean it is unlikely to receive planning permission.

“Unauthorised development in a National Park is an extremely serious matter and we are taking urgent enforcement action by issuing a temporary Stop Notice. This requires all development activity to cease immediately. We are closely monitoring activity on this site. Further enforcement action is also being considered and steps will be taken if needed.

“What is also particularly worrying is that purchasers of the plots don’t appear to be aware of the sensitive environment or planning restrictions at this location. Plots on this land are still being marketed for sale without detailing the significant constraints of the site.  Anyone purchasing these plots would be very unlikely to receive permission to develop them as they are in an environmentally sensitive landscape where there is a risk of flooding. We are keen to engage with those who have recently bought a plot here and to prevent anyone else from buying a plot without fully understanding these constraints.”

The National Park Authority is also liaising with the local community and relevant partner organisations.

David Johnston, Chair of Balquhidder, Lochearnhead and Strathyre Community Council, said: “The residents and community of Balquhidder are extremely concerned about what is happening on some land near to Stroneslaney. Despite the land flooding so regularly that it is known as ‘Loch Occasional’ it is being sold off in small portions and it is clear that the new owners have not been fully informed of the special environmental nature of the area around the river Balvaig which is a Special Area of Conservation. Some of these new owners have started doing work without the necessary permissions and this is changing its nature and preventing the community and visitors from enjoying the recreational benefits they have enjoyed for years.”

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