Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Slightly unpopular Loch Lomond Flamingo Land proposal withdrawn

Some say…

It wasn’t very popular, although it only managed to attract a mere 56,000 objections.

And was later described as the “most unpopular planning application in Scottish history“.

Now, the Flamingo Land planning application to build a £30 million tourist resort on Loch Lomond has been officially withdrawn (but, keep watching).

The move comes after officials for the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park Authority recommended its board reject the bid earlier this month.

More than 55,000 objections were lodged against the Lomond Banks development between April and May.

But the team behind the project have not ruled out submitting a fresh application at a later date.

Scottish Green MSP Ross Greer, who led the campaign against the plans, tweeted: “We’ve won this battle but it’s not over.

“They will resubmit, in a transparent attempt to cancel the 57,000 objections lodged against them this time.”

Flamingo Land withdraw Loch Lomond resort bid

Have to love the Green Loony response.

Not sure which one makes me smile more, that, or the idea that someone thought this plan would happen in their lifetime.

Flamingo Land withdraws planning application to build tourist resort in Loch Lomond

Flamingo Land withdraws £30m Loch Lomond resort bid

I think those behind it must have been delusional, and spent too much time locked up in the same room talking to one another, and not listening to people outside, in the real world.

Flamingo Land Ltd and Scottish Enterprise confirmed that they had informed the National Park Authority they collectively wished to withdraw the live planning application.

Andy Miller, director of Lomond Banks, said: “We’ve been working hard with all parties, including the National Park Authority, for more than two years to ensure all information relating to the proposed development was made readily available.

“We know the national park recognises that the majority of what we propose fits in with the LDP [local development plan].

“It is therefore surprising and disappointing that their recommendation report raises previously unidentified concerns and highlights the need for new additional information.”

You can try TOO hard, and things like two years of advance work suggest they knew there would be problems, but still tried to push ahead.

There’s probably another clue they knew parts of their plan that would be highly unpopular once it was scrutinised by all concerned, and that’s the part where they say:

“We know the national park recognises that the majority of what we propose fits in with the LDP [local development plan].”

When you’re dealing with someone who emphasises the parts of their plan they want you to know fit in with your demand, you want to go look for the parts that DON’T!

Maybe they went on a ‘Fact Finding Junket’ – and tried this ride while looking for goodies to install in their Loch Lomondside venture, BEFORE the wrote the plan 😉

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18/09/2019 Posted by | Civilian | , , , | Leave a comment

Loch Lomond Flamingo Land leisure park plan thrown out (so far)

Another item came to a head while I was out of circulation, so just to tie it up neatly…

Plans for a £30m leisure park on the shores of Loch Lomond have been unanimously rejected by West Dunbartonshire councillors.

The controversial Lomond Banks development – a joint venture between theme park operator Flamingo Land and Scottish Enterprise – include plans for a hotel, hostel, restaurants, craft brewery, boat house, leisure centre and six private houses in the Balloch area.

A Save Loch Lomond petition was set up in response to the development, with the campaign group arguing the need to preserve the national park for future generations.

Led by Scottish Greens MSP Ross Greer, the petition has so far generated over 56,000 formal objections to the plans.

Mr Greer welcomed the council’s decision, branding the development as the “most unpopular planning application in Scottish history“.

Given that the process is not yet complete, I wouldn’t rule out anything being done in order to push this through ‘By other means’.

This is outside my area, but I’ve also read enough planning applications to have seen that some which might have been considered to have been ‘Dead and Buried’ were able to drag on for years as wealthy backers/proposers tried all sort of ruses to get them approved, with no end of changes and tweaks to the original application being made in an effort to make them conform to rulings, and bypass objections.

Although West Dunbartonshire Council opposed the plans on Wednesday evening, the final decision will be made by the board of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park.

No date has been set for the decision as the consultation and statutory planning stages are still ongoing, but a full public hearing will be held before the final verdict.

A spokesperson for Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority said: “As the planning authority considering a live application, it is not appropriate at this stage for any comment to be made on consultation responses received or the proposals themselves.

“With all the main consultation responses now received, planning officers can finalise the assessment of these complex proposals against relevant planning policies, consultation responses and the large number of public comments received.

“The next stage is for an officer report, with a recommendation to either approve with conditions or refuse the application, to be presented to the national park board.

“The board has already agreed that a site visit followed by a full public hearing should be held before a planning decision is taken to ensure that people who have commented on the application have the opportunity to speak.

“Dates for the special hearing and board meeting are currently being identified and will be publicised to all interested parties when confirmed.”

Councillors vote against £30m Loch Lomond leisure park

See also:

Councillors reject plans to build Flamingo Land on Loch Lomond shores

Like I suggested in my previous post, that the proposal should even have got as far as it did just makes me wonder what the National Park Authority is there for.

I’d think someone should be calling for it to be investigated, or for its remit to be reviewed to see if it is appropriate, or even fit for purpose.

I just hope that by the time I think I’m fit enough to cycle to Balloch for a nice day out, it will still be there, and not have be fenced off and have admission tickets for sale.

tired

06/07/2019 Posted by | Civilian | , , , | Leave a comment

Told you so – Loch Lomond NPA has lost the plot (and maybe should be wound up)

While it may only be my opinion, ever since it was formed I’ve wondered what the point was of the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park Authority (NPA).

Supposedly created to look after and protect the area (from development?), all I ever seemed to see was news of development continuing within it, while the NPA used the ruse of ‘protecting’ the area by introducing rules and regulations which would, I believe, have driven away people like Tom Weir and hos friends (if they were still with us) from one of their favourite ‘wild’ areas, and served only to let the NPA justify its existence, and increase its power.

When plans were announced for a massive development near Loch Lomond I suggested Oh-oh… Looks like my unhappy opinion of the NPA might not be the only one

It seems I was right, and more than 53,000 54,500 other people agreed.

It’s probably also worth adding that this figure will be considerably larger, since it represents only those who actually registered their view.

More than 53,000 objections against a proposed £30 million tourist development on the shores of Loch Lomond have been handed to planners.

Plans for the Lomond Banks resort in Balloch include a 60-bedroom aparthotel, 32-bedroom budget accommodation, a craft brewery, boat house, leisure centre and restaurants, as well as improvements to public footpaths and green spaces.

Green MSP Ross Greer visited the village on the loch’s southern shore along with locals to hand over objections, fulfilling a pledge to gather more than 50,000 by enabling people to object via his website.

By Monday afternoon, more than 54,500 people had lodged their opposition via his site.

He claims the number sets a record for any Scottish planning application and called for the planning authority, Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, to reject planning permission for the Flamingo Land Limited and Scottish Enterprise application.

Mr Greer said: “Flamingoland Loch Lomond is now the most unpopular planning application in Scottish history and when you look at their proposals, it’s no surprise why.

“Local residents have been joined by people from across Scotland in saying that Loch Lomond’s world famous natural beauty should be protected, not sold off for the profit margins of a private developer.

“Time and time again, it’s only the Greens standing with communities when they fight to protect Scotland’s environment against corporate takeover and destruction.

“Our campaign to save Loch Lomond will continue until the National Park reject these plans and this threat is ended once and for all.”

Flamingoland resort ‘most unpopular planning application in Scottish history’

Loch Lomond resort ‘most unpopular development in history’

Heads should roll

I’m not usually a fan of the “FIRE SOMEBODY” response which is so popular nowadays, and used to make a public statement when some alleged mistake or slip is made in a publicly visible company, but in this case I think such a move would be wholly appropriate.

This is not a mere error, but a complete failure by an organisation supposedly tasked with protecting an area of outstanding natural beauty.

I’d say it’s also the worst example to date of how this NPA really isn’t fit for purpose, not has it been since it was put in place.

Not only the chief executive should be looking for a new job now, but with such a gross error being made in public, the whole board should probably be deemed complicit too, and ‘invited’ to leave.

And with that, maybe a NEW NPA should be formed, one which will do the job an NPA is supposed to do!

Unless we actually WANT Loch Lomond’s shores to look like…

Benidorm

Benidorm

A more detailed look at ‘The Plot’

The BBC ran a long and detailed review.

Proposals for a tourist resort on Loch Lomond have been complained about more than 55,000 times.

Plans for the £30m resort near Balloch are believed to have attracted the largest number of objections for a Scottish planning application.

The online petition against the Lomond Banks development has been passed to planners.

Significantly, this para confirms the NPA can do as it likes, and the planning decision is not down to the local council.

Final plans were submitted to the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park Authority last month. The developers modified previous plans in light of requests by the authority for changes and further information. The decision on whether to allow the development lies with the authority – not the local council.

Why isn’t the local council making the decision?

The local authority, West Dunbartonshire Council, has a right to express a view on the project but will not take the decision on whether to grant it planning permission because it is within the national park’s boundaries.

A spokeswoman said: “We will be making a formal response as a consultee. This will be considered by councillors in June and will thereafter be submitted to the National Park Authority as the council’s response to the application.”

So, the NPA can do as it likes.

Will the volume of signatures have an impact on the decision?

Obviously, the authority will be aware of the number of signatories but the sheer number alone would not be a factor.

Even if what it want to do is really “privatisation of public space”.

Some would also argue a commercial development on this land represents the “privatisation of public space”. Indeed this row seems to touch on these fundamental issues. Leading opponents include the Scottish Green MSP Ross Greer and the writer and champion of the outdoors Cameron McNeish.

Why did 55,000 people object to Loch Lomond development plans?

Mental image when I see opinions be offered to the NPA…

Well kiss dis

21/05/2019 Posted by | Civilian | , , , | Leave a comment

Oh-oh… Looks like my unhappy opinion of the NPA might not be the only one

I’ve said before that I’ve long given up on passing comment on the NPAs (National Park Authorities), especially since I lost the option of being a regular visitor to the Loch Lomond area some time ago.

So now you know I think they’re (around Loch Lomond at least) useless,

I spotted news of a proposed major development at Loch Lomond, and it seems to pretty much fall into line with the negative things I think about NPAs.

This sounds kind of what like I was saying years ago, and the NPA still seems to be letting developments be added.

So much for preserving the place, unspoilt.

More than 50,000 objections have been lodged against a new £30m tourist development at Loch Lomond.

The proposals include a 60-bedroom apart-hotel, 32-bedroom budget accommodation, a craft brewery, holiday homes, leisure centre and restaurants.

But the Lomond Banks development at Balloch has proven controversial with strong local opposition.

Campaigners fear the project will spoil the scenery and limit access to the shoreline for locals.

Alannah Maurer, of the Save Loch Lomond campaign, told BBC Scotland’s The Nine: “A national park is a theme park in its own right, a natural theme park and in this time of climate change we should be looking at conserving that natural theme park.

“Those buildings will dominate the scenery, they will dominate the village of Balloch.”

Anger over £30m hotel and leisure complex for Loch Lomond

They (the developers, and the objectors) can’t both be right, so this will an interesting confrontation between two fairly outspoken groups who would seem to be unlikely ever to agree.

Benidorm pic still seems appropriate, so…

Benidorm

Benidorm

04/05/2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

And a National Park Authority does what?

I gave up poking fun at things National Park Authorities (NPA) did years ago.

While I thought the idea was for them to protect the area under their control, they just seemed to make rules to keep themselves in a nice comfy job.

As far as I could see, there seems to be as much development (house building) after they arrived as before – but then again, I was only going by what was reported in the media.

I don’t really want to start that stream up again, but given the horrible big commercial lump parachuted onto the south shore of Loch Lomond, I never expected to see any more development down there.

Then again, maybe I was forgetting that there’s a National Park Authority in place, to limit out-of-place development.

Plans for a new £30m tourist development at Loch Lomond have been unveiled.

The proposals include a 60-bedroom apart-hotel, 32-bedroom budget accommodation, a craft brewery, boat house, leisure centre and restaurants.

There will also be upgrades to public footpaths and green spaces.

It is estimated the Lomond Banks development at Balloch would create 80 full-time jobs, 50 part-time jobs and 70 seasonal roles in the area.

Plans for £30m tourist development at Loch Lomond

Plans unveiled for £30m Loch Lomond tourist development

Plans revealed for £30m Loch Lomond tourist development with hotel, craft brewery and apartments

It’s beginning to make me think of Spain (for example), which apparently used to look nice, and was a great destination for a nice holiday. I don’t know, I’d never go there.

Until it was covered with hotels and bars to ‘Make it better for tourists’.

Reminds me of a little piece I wrote some years ago, suggesting a small theme park near Balloch might not be a bad idea – as I recall, I was not a popular person for even mentioning the thought back then.

Benidorm

Benidorm

23/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian | , , | Leave a comment

Could Flamingo Land land in Balloch?

I was intrigued to see the apparently hostile response to proposals for proposals (yes, I did MEAN to say that) for a theme park and development located near Balloch and operated by the existing Flamingo Land owners.

While I’m not a theme park fan in the sense of visiting them to take part, I have always enjoyed wandering around them and seeing people enjoying them and the rides. I used to enjoy a run down to Morecambe for the day, which included a wander around Frontier Land, but that was closed and razed some years ago, when the town also gave up its illuminations in deference to Blackpool. This unfortunately coincided with personal problems which meant I was unable to visit during the years this happened, and when I did eventually manage a return trip can only say that the town was a sad and dead place without those features.

While I don’t claim that’s equivalent to Balloch, I’m left wondering if the apparently massive negative reaction to the proposal is from the sort of people who just like to say ‘NO!’ to anything.

Flamingo Land chiefs have unveiled plans for a public consultation as they seek to progress their proposals for a £30 million leisure resort at Balloch.

The Yorkshire-based firm is in the process of creating a website showcasing the proposals in a bid to win over local residents.

Tens of thousands of individuals have already signed a petition opposing the plans, while a number of locals staged a demonstration against the proposals by gathering in Drumkinnon Woods – part of the land which could be affected by the development if it gets the green light.

Via: Flamingo Land at Balloch a step closer with public consultation

While some would also look at the handful of negative responses in the comments after the story, sadly, I’ve come to realise that most of the commenters on Scotsman stories are sad and miserable, or just out to make political capital.

Hopefully the media will follow this, as I’ll be more interested in the result of the public consultation, than the potentially biased response of a few noisy activists.

As the proposer says:

However, in September last year, Mr Gibb admitted that the plans would not go ahead if they weren’t supported by ‘most of the people in Scotland’.

He said: “Flamingo Land totally understands some of the local concerns about our proposed leisure resort in Balloch and we are committed to engaging with all parties involved to fully explain our ideas.

“Our bid was successful due to the sensitive way in which we have considered the site in question and we look forward to continuing to cooperate with the consultation group.

“To be frank, if our plans are not welcomed by most of the people in Scotland then we will not proceed further but I do not trust the results of the petition and we have not yet been given the chance to fully explain our plans.”

Amusement Park

Amusement Park

Just to be clear, I am merely mentioning this, although I expect to be misrepresented and said to be in favour of the development – merely because I have not suffered an immediate knee-jerk reaction stating I am against it.

For what it’s worth, I still think the theme park in Strathclyde Country Park looks out of place as a permanent installation. I originally thought it was just visiting when it first appeared.

I’m more interested in seeing how the National Park Authority plays its part, as I see it as a body that like to make rules to keep itself in a comfy well-paid job, has introduced rules that would probably have Tom Weir spinning in his grave given the restriction it has brought in for wanderers, yet seems happy to allow development and housed to be built within the park it is supposed to be preserving.

These links might help keep some folk’s blood pressure down:

Flamingo Land proposals are opposed by thousands

Our view on Flamingo Land’s Loch Lomond proposal

The LLTNPA’s involvement in the Flamingo Land proposals

The potential impact of Flamingo Land’s proposals on the National Park

 

17/07/2017 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , , , | Leave a comment

National Park authority needs German signs

I have to be honest and say that while I approve of the existence of a National Park Authority, and it is (sadly) a necessity in order to protect the areas concerned from some, it’s also true to say that looking at some of its actions might lead one to conclude it fails miserably in some respects, and is over zealous in others.

But, maybe they know better than me (or its more active critics), so perhaps better left at that.

However, I wonder how much larger than this genuine sign from a German park would have to be if it was made for a Scottish NPA?

One might be tempted t wonder if there is any point in going to such a ‘Recreation Area’ – the list of prohibitions would seem to rule out most of the reasons for going to such a place.

A landfill site or building site might be more fun!

German Park Sign

German Park Sign

Translation is fairly obvious…

“Applies throughout the entire recreation area

02/06/2017 Posted by | Civilian | , , , , | Leave a comment

Newtonmore’s Waltzing Waters to close at end of August 2011

If you’ve ever meant to catch the Waltzing Waters show at Newtonmore, but never quite got around to it, then you had better get a move on, as the nearest (and only UK) venue will soon be the Isle of Wight.

Unfortunately for me, it’s not in a corner of the country I visit much, so I’ve only seen the show a few times over the years, but it is well worth the effort.

As of this post, you have only have two weeks left to catch the show, as its 20 year run comes to an end together with the end of August 2011, after which the venue is to be razed to the ground and probably turned into a supermarket.

I don’t know how much truth there is in the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) claim that it has nothing to do with the loss, and it seems like yet another case of an NPA not doing anything to conserve an area – and conservation takes many form, not just protecting flora and fauna. It always seems to me that if something does not contribute to an NPA’s coffers, then it disappears, or is eventually replaced by something that does (eg wild camping near Loch Lomond).

It also makes the Scottish Government’s demand for a 50% increase in tourist revenue by 2015 look a bit hollow, since there seems to no mention of any campaign or attempt to retain the show or venue – nor of any refusal by the owner to participate in such a think

A tourist attraction which has been running in Newtonmore in Badenoch and Strathspey for about 20 years is to close at the end of August.

Waltzing Waters puts on shows where jets of water lit by coloured lights move to music.

The Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) has called in plans to redevelop the site.

A Co-Operative supermarket and five homes have been proposed. CNPA planners have been asked to approve the plans.

In a report, park officers said Waltzing Waters had attracted significant numbers of tourists to Newtonmore over the past two decades.

They said closing down the attraction had been the owners’ personal choice and its loss to the area could not be attributed to the proposed development.

via BBC News – Newtonmore’s Waltzing Waters to close.

Admission & Hours:

Open 7 days a week including Public Holidays
from early February through mid December.
(winter visitors please call to confirm exact dates)

40 minute shows on the hour every hour:

Daytime Shows
10 am, 11 am, 12 noon, 1 pm, 2 pm, 3 pm, 4 pm

Additional Summer Evening Shows
8:30 pm; July & August only
(call to confirm exact cut-off dates)

Adult £4.25 Child £2.50 Concession £3.75

Coaches welcome! – Special Group Rate!

According to the web site:

Around 1930, German inventor Otto Przystawik invented the first musical fountains. In 1964 his son, Gunter moved to the U.S. and continued in his father’s footsteps developing even more sophisticated designs. Today, grandson Michael Przystawik is company president of Waltzing Waters, Inc., the world’s premier manufacturer of musical fountain spectaculars.

In 1979, the newly re-routed A9 motorway bypassed some of the tourist-dependent villages in the Scottish Highlands. Businessman Alex Donald knew something really new and different was required to draw tourists off the motorway into the village of Newtonmore.

While on holiday in Florida, he witnessed the Waltzing Waters. Stunned by its beauty and emotional appeal, he knew he found the perfect solution.

In 1990, Mr. Donald brought the show to Newtonmore and the Waltzing Waters quickly became one of the most popular attractions in the Scottish Highlands.

Post closure

After the attraction had closed, the web site was altered to contain the following message:

After entertaining over 1.6 million visitors, the Waltzing Waters has celebrated it’s (sic) final season in the Scottish Higlands (sic). Concluding performances were seen 26 August, 2011. Shows continue as usual at our Isle of Wight location.

After twenty-two seasons, owner Alex Donald decided to enter semi-retirement on the Isle of Wight, where he continues to oversee the Waltzing Waters in Ryde.

15/08/2011 Posted by | Civilian, Lost | , , , , , | Leave a comment

National Parks – still can’t really see the point

It doesn’t seem to matter what the story is, or what the involvement is, but I really can’t work up any enthusiasm or support for National Park Authorities (NPA). They seem to be good at promoting themselves, and making sure they have a reason (in their own eyes) for being.

This time, I find my first thought regarding some cash handouts from the European Union is one of “Why is the NPA getting any – it’s not a community”. The communities that should be benefiting from receiving the total cash handout lie within the NPA. I can just about understand a council getting some, as it has a responsibility to the communities it is serves, and we can see what return is to be had for the cash concerned, but not so in the case of the NPA.

Looking at the cash breakdown…

Laggan Community Association received £17,100 and will use part of this to launch WiFi in its area.

Glen Tanar Estate received £15,943 and will upgrade Aboyne telephone exchange, Aberdeenshire.

These improvements will provide broadband access.

Cairngorms Mountain Rescue Association received £10,000 and will buy a new 4×4 ambulance.

Highland Council received £5,000 to be spent on play equipment in Aviemore and Carrbridge.

Abernethy Old Kirk Association received £4,980 and will repair stonework and seal the kirk against the weather.

But…

The Cairngorms NPA will receive a total of £17.715 which will be spent on a Landscape Partnership Feasibility Study project and a junior ranger exchange scheme.

Sorry, but compared to those listed above, there is no tangible or material benefit for any of the communities in the area. Money spent on a study merely produces some paper (and justifies someone’s job) and while a ‘junior ranger exchange scheme’ may be nice, once it’s over, again there is no tangible result to show for the spend.

So, to my tired old eyes, the NPA has frittered away an amount of money that a community could have used to by hardware to improve broadband delivery, or repair some building at risk.

Not good value at all.

BBC News – Euro funds to upgrade internet in Glen Tanar and Laggan

17/05/2011 Posted by | Civilian | , , , | Leave a comment

Onwards and upwards – the rise and rise of National Park bureaucracy

Parking areaWhen the National Park Authority (NPA) first announced and then appeared, I was wary.

As a result of contacts made in places such as Canada and Australia, where they have their version of national parks in place for a lot longer than Scotland, and where people live in the vast wilderness that we can only dream of, comments volunteered when I mentioned the arrival of such parks in Scotland were met with concern, particularly by ex-pats.

After listening to the words of people better qualified than me to comment, such as the late Tom Weir – who spent his life in such areas – I came to the conclusion that I would not see any demonstrable benefits from their arrival, and said so some years ago: The National Park – benefit or bureaucracy?

I don’t particularly like the word quango, but it looks very much as if that is all an NPA is, and for want of a better description, a few Jobsworth types have been given power without accountability, and as time get harder they are seeking ways and means to protect themselves, to justify their non-essential existence, and raise funds to pay their wages and hang on to their jobs.

I go by the evidence of what I see, and I see little that leads to conservation and the preservation of the environment in places such as the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park. I see the arrival of rules and regulations, and I see these accompanied by charges, fees, bylaws, and fines that were never needed before – and would not be needed now if existing laws were properly enforced.

The NPA is now going to be charging for each of the 16 car parks it owns or manages, but has said it intends to concentrate first on the east shore of the loch.

In a remarkably perverse justification, the NPA justifies the charges on the basis of success, and apparently overwhelming visitor numbers that lead to gridlock, and that is worst on the ancient and single track roads found on the east.

In a similarly perverse application of logic, the NPA will be helping this gridlock by introducing the charges, which it fears may cause some motorists to react to by parking on roadside verges, so intends to close off “informal” parking areas.

I used to like having a family drive to Loch Lomond, and this tradition dates back not only to my parents, but also my grandparents, who were car owners in the 1920s, and started our regular trips to Luss.

Then, and I am unsure of the date, some ten years or so ago, Luss was ‘improved’ when the main road bypassed it, and the car park got bigger and charges were introduced – the main rural car park at Luss, owned by Argyll & Bute Council, charges motorists, and manages to raise around £80,000 a year. Well, I haven’t contributed to that, and won’t. Apart from being allowed to stop my car, I get nothing in return, other than handing yet more money to the council for nothing other than putting money in a ticket machine.

It’s rather like a little area laughingly described as a ‘Car Park’ just off the A9. I discovered this a few years ago when looking for a well-hidden local historic feature. It took me a few visits to find the little building concerned, and on one of the later visits I was amazed to see that the patch of ground where cars could stop had an ‘honesty’ car park box. I honestly couldn’t see any reason for putting a £1 in the box every time I stopped there. It wasn’t clear if the box was official in some way, or where the money went, and apart from someone making money, there was no reason for it. If I pay for parking, I expect to see someone doing something, even if it’s only a bit of security – and that doesn’t happen on a bit of roadside, where all that will happen is someone appearing to empty the collection box, and then going home with a smile on their face.

It’s also rather like Glasgow’s famous Burrell Collection. I haven’t been there for a few years, but notably, this collection is free – as are most of Scotland’s national museums. However, the Burrell lies within Pollok Park, and there is a Pay and Display car park, so you effectively pay the council to visit. This would be fair enough, and not worthy of comment, but for the fact that the Pay and Display car park is effectively unattended (unless the money collector is visiting of course), and regrettably, Pollok is not the nicest part of Glasgow. I guess the car park is seen as a soft-touch, as tourists visit with hire cars full of stuff they leave on view, and on each visit I have made to the Burrell (and I usually spend most of a morning or afternoon when I go) I have seen the police attend at a car in the Pay and Display which has had a window smashed, and items stolen. Owner’s fault, but you have to ask what they were getting for the money they put in the Pay and Display machine, with no attendant, and no security.

Returning to the Loch Lomond  NPA, it has been suggested that it will follow prices set by the Lake District NPA, which runs car parks in places like Windermere, Ullswater, and Hawkshead, and during the peak summer season, visitors are charged a minimum of £1.50 for an hour’s parking up to £6.50 for up to 12 hours, while weekly passes are sold for £25.

By introducing charging for car parks, the NPA believes it can further crack down on misbehaviour while at the same time better managing its five million annual visitors.

Well, if they do the same as me, and stop only where and when no-one is looking, or simply drive on through without stopping – the NPA will be able to claim success. After all, if there’s no-one there, then there won’t be any misbehaviour, and their numbers will definitely become more manageable.

It’s a pity so many people just accept this sort of thing as if they sleepwalking.

I wonder what would happen if there was a co-ordinated campaign, and the reputed five million visitors who are to be controlled simply all ignored the new parking charges – could the NPA fine five million vistors, and take them to court for non-payment?

I’d like to see it try.

14/04/2011 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | 1 Comment

Yet another National Park farce rises in the Cairngorms

BuildingsI no longer bother to hide my thoughts on National Parks – National parks – probably just bureaucratic empire building – and it seems that almost every story about them which surfaces in the media does nothing to convince that I am misguided in these thoughts.

The latest fiasco seems to have popped up in the Cairngorms National Park, where the authority appears to be following its pal down in Loch Lomond, and waving through housing developments, an action which has resulted in local groups being formed to oppose these plans:

BBC News – Legal challenge to Cairngorms national park local plan

The Cairngorms Campaign, which is based in Aberdeenshire, along with the Scottish Campaign for National Parks and Badenoch and Strathspey Conservation Group have jointly lodged the appeal at the Court of Session, and opposes plans for a new community at An Camas Mor, near Aviemore, together with schemes proposed for Grantown-on-Spey and Kingussie.

The Rothiemurchus Estate project would see 1,500 homes, and business and community facilities built in phases, close to Coylumbridge, and the The CNPA (Cairngorms National Park Authority) said it would be one of the “biggest developments in a generation”.

I can only echo the comment made by Spokesman Bill McDermott who said: “The park authority has been acting as the developers’ friend. It should be a conservation agency not a development agency.”

This is exactly the same conclusion I came to a few years ago, when it struck me that the Loch Lomond National Park Authority was doing much the same, and instead of acting as conservation authority, and hitting the news headlines back then as a group that defaulted to a position of opposing development, appeared to be one that was making the news by being criticised for allowing development to advance through the park.

Now, it just seem to hit the headlines when it introduces more rules and regulations, and which strike me as more favourable to its own developments than they are to the aim of promoting conservation.

I feel sure Tom Weir is looking down on this apparently useless organisation that has managed to impose itself on the land he once freely enjoyed, and is shaking his head – maybe even saying “I told you so”, as one episode of Weir’s Way included a debate between Tom and his fellow walkers from the area, and they did not come out in universal accord with what was then only the proposal to create a national park around Loch Lomond.

A cynic might be forgiven for thinking the various National Park Authorities had lost sight of the word ‘Park’ in their title, and see only the word ‘Authority’, and are too busy creating a world around themselves to justify that, and have lost sight of the more important word ‘Park’.

11/01/2011 Posted by | Civilian | , , , , | Leave a comment

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