The work we do here at the National Park wouldn’t be possible if we didn’t work closely with other partner organisations. And when it comes to a Planning consultation like LIVE Park it is critical that everyone, including those partners, has an opportunity to have their say.
The best way for us to get the views from our partners is to invite them all in so this morning we held a LIVE Park briefing session for them at our offices here in Balloch. This was one of a number of briefings that we have been holding with partner or interested organisations.
So far, we have met with government agencies such as Transport Scotland, SEPA and Scottish Natural Heritage and Local Councils. Today met with a great mix of representatives from SportScotland, Scottish Natural Heritage, Royal Society for Protection of Birds, Royal Yachting Association Scotland, Luss Estates, Scottish Campaign for National Parks, Friends of Loch Lomond and the Helensburgh and District Access Trust. It was great to get all these people round the table together, so thanks to everyone who took the time to take part.
We discussed a wide range of topics. Some of the main points included:
How to support economic development in the countryside without spoiling the special landscape and environmental qualities of the National Park. The need for economic development in the countryside to be sensitive and in keeping with a countryside location. Support for better linking planning strategy and policy with farm and estate management plans.
Options for growth and the proposed long term expansion of the town to the south. What scale of development is needed to fund an additional road bridge over the River Teith? What are the timescales for this and what impacts will this have on the environment – the Strategic Environmental Report will help consider this.
Does we acknowledge the full potential for access and recreation within the National Park? Some felt more needs to be done to raise the profile of off road routes and ensure that there are more opportunities to experience the Park by cycling, canoeing, sailing. The maps should show where there is potential for infrastructure/facilities to sport and physical recreation, for example open water swimming. There was felt to be a lack of infrastructure to support marine tourism. There needs to be more provision for camping, bunkhouses and hostels in the National Park and we need to ensure that there are of good quality. An example of a community run bunkhouse on Coll was felt to be a good example of the type of accommodation needed in the National Park.
We discussed the need for and role of new housing in the National Park. Who should new housing be for? Commuters? What type of housing is needed and how can planning policy help influence this? There are examples from other National Parks, for example the Peak District where there are good planning policies for housing.
So, thanks to everyone who came along and for sharing your thoughts and giving comments.
What do others think about what’s been said so far? We look forward to hearing from you.