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West Riverside and Woodbank House

A planning application for a major development at West Riverside and Woodbank House, Balloch, was registered as valid on 21st May 2018.

Update: 17th September 2019

The application for planning permission in principle for the major development at West Riverside and Woodbank House, Balloch, has today been withdrawn by the applicants.

The Site Visit scheduled for Monday 23rd September and the Pre-determination Hearing and Meeting on Tuesday 24th September to determine the application will now no longer take place. Everyone who has made a formal representation to the application will be notified.

Our statement is available here

Update: 5th September 2019

The report of recommendation on the application for Planning Permission in Principle for West Riverside and Woodbank House, Balloch, has been published today (Thursday 5th September).

The report, by the Director of Rural Development and Planning at Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority, outlines a recommendation to the National Park Board that the application for Planning Permission in Principle is refused.

The report has been published following a detailed assessment, and consideration, against key documents, policies and statutory requirements. It takes account of consultation responses that identify relevant planning considerations and responses from local and national Government bodies. This in line with the statutory process for major planning applications.

Assessing a planning application of this scale and complexity, that has attracted significant public interest, takes a huge amount of time and very careful consideration. The report is comprehensive in addressing all matters relating to the application and as a result runs to over 100 pages.

Overall the report concludes that, in summary:

  • Two key elements of the application – proposals in Drumkinnon Wood and at the Pierhead area – would result in significant unacceptable impacts on the landscape, visual amenity, and trees and woodland. As a result, the proposed development would adversely affect the area’s built heritage and the enjoyment of the Pierhead area by both visitors and locals.
  • There are no socio-economic reasons, or public benefits that would outweigh these reasons. It is also not considered that the use of planning conditions could reasonably control or mitigate these impacts.

The report states that:

  • The application does not comply with the Local Development Plan for the National Park, it is contrary to the National Park’s aims and presents a conflict between the first National Park aim (‘to conserve and enhance the natural and cultural heritage of the area’) and the fourth National Park aim (‘to promote the sustainable economic and social development of the area’s communities’), meaning the Authority must give greater weight to the first aim (this is known as ‘the Sandford Principle’).

We understand that processes that are bound in legislation (like planning is) sometimes use specialist language that isn’t always that easy to understand. So, whilst the report and recommendation to the Board does still contain specialist assessment and refer to planning legislation, every effort has been made to make the report as easy to understand as possible.

You can read the full report here.

Given the level of public interest in this application, the National Park Authority has chosen to publish the report and recommendation more than two full weeks ahead of the meeting, considerably earlier than would normally be the case.

The National Park Authority’s Board will consider the report and make a decision on whether to approve or refuse the application at a Special Board Meeting, which will be held in public, on Tuesday 24th September.

 

Timings for the meeting, as well as the Pre-Determination Hearing and Site Visit relating to the application have also now been published.

  • Site Visit – 10.30am, Monday 23rd September, starting from outside VisitScotland Visitor Information Centre, Old Station Building, Balloch Rd, Balloch, G83 8SS. This will be the starting point of a visit to a number of locations in or close to the site.
  • Pre-Determination Hearing and Meeting – 9.30am, Tuesday 24th September, Alexandria Parish Church, 1 Lomond Road, Balloch, G83 8SJ.

Anyone, or any organisation, who submitted formal comments on the application before this report was published, will be notified and given details on how they can request to speak at the Pre-determination Hearing. For comments received via a third party website; the author of that site will be notified on behalf of those who sent responses via that website. Only those whose formal comments have been received before publication of the report will be eligible to request to speak at the Pre-determination Hearing.

A framework document, outlining the key dates and processes relating to this application is available to download here . Below is an extract:

Site Visit 

A Site Visit will take place on Monday 23rd September beginning at 10.30am starting from outside VisitScotland Visitor Information Centre, Old Station Building, Balloch Rd, Balloch, G83 8SS.

This will be the starting point of a visit to a number of locations in or close to the site.

This is to allow National Park Board Members to gain a greater understanding of the application. A Site Visit provides the best opportunity for Board Members to fully understand the context and characteristics of the site and how the development proposals relate to these. This is standard procedure for an application of this scale and complexity. No discussion on the merits of the proposal and no decision on the application will be made during the visit.

Anyone with an interest in the application is welcome to attend to observe the proceedings, but only Board Members, in the presence of National Park Authority staff and any National Park Authority external advisors, may participate in the visit.

Public Hearing

The Pre-determination Hearing and Meeting to determine the proposed development will take place at Alexandria Parish Church on Tuesday 24th September 2019. The Hearing will begin at 9.30am.

During the Pre-determination Hearing, the National Park Authority’s Planning staff will present the planning assessment of the proposal and the recommendation to Board Members. Those who are confirmed speakers will then be invited to address the Board. Board Members will then have the opportunity to ask each speaker questions.

Once all the speakers have been heard, the Convener will close the Pre-determination Hearing and after a short break, re-convene the formal determination Meeting. This is a Special Board Meeting where the decision whether to approve or refuse the application will be taken by the National Park Authority Board.

During the formal determination Meeting, Board Members will debate the proposal and may ask questions of the Planning Case Officer, the Director of Rural Development and Planning and any National Park Authority specialist advisors. This could include, for example, Trees, Landscape, Ecologist and/or Access advisors.

Members of the public are welcome to listen and watch as the application is discussed but only the National Park Authority Board and staff members are able to take part in the debate.

A decision will then be made to either approve or refuse the application. Members will confirm their position by a show of hands. The Proper Officer or Legal Clerk will then confirm the final decision of the Board.

We will also publish the decision on our website and social media following the Pre-determination Hearing and determination Meeting.

Listening to the Hearing/Meeting

Careful consideration is being given to the arrangements for the Pre-determination Hearing in recognition of the high level of interest in the application.

Whilst members of the public are welcome to attend the Hearing and Meeting, we appreciate that capacity at the venue is limited and that people with an interest in the application may not be able to attend in person. There will be an audio webcast of the Pre-determination Hearing and Meeting so if you are unable to attend in person, you will be able to listen to the proceedings as they take place or after they have finished.

On the day of the Hearing and Meeting, a link to the audio webcast will be available from this page.  Whilst we have tested this equipment in advance, if there is a technical issue with the audio webcasting before or during the Hearing and Meeting, the determination process will still continue.

How to view the plans

You can view all of the application documents, including the Environmental Statement and ES addendum, on the e-planning portal using reference 2018/0133/PPP. The non-technical summary of the EIA explains and presents the proposal in an easy to understand way. You can also view hard copies of the application documents in our head office on Carrochan Road, Balloch. You do not need to make an appointment.

You can find the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions here. 

Further information about the process is available to download here.

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