..sustainable social and economic development of the area’s communities.
Welcome to the Iconic Leisure Development website. We have set this website up to keep you as up to date as possible on the development as we move through the master planning process. We appreciate that much of the work going on at this stage is carried out behind the scenes and we want to make sure that any information that is shared is correct. Unfortunately there has been much implied through on-line media platforms which at times has been incorrect or misinformed.
West Dunbartonshire Council, The National Park, Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Government are acutely aware of the economic issue that surround the south end of Loch Lomond and the need to encourage enterprise. The West Riverside site has been earmarked for a leisure and tourism development since the early 2000’s. Unfortunately this has never been delivered with the suggestion that it has creating a division in the potential commercial opportunities linking Balloch and Lomond Shores. People either tend to spend time in Balloch or Lomond Shores with them very rarely moving between both areas.
We hope as we travel through this journey that we can demonstrate there is great economic advantages to having this site developed which bring visitors and families to Balloch not just to spend the day but to stay for a week or short stay.
Please also find a link to LLTNP Local Development plan which includes Balloch showing what the land at West Riverside, Drumkinnon Wood and Woodbank Hotel are designated for.
Flamingo Land Limited has been trading since 1974 and has grown to become the third most popular tourist attraction in the UK.
Our ‘skills set’ are diverse and span from owning and operating a holiday resort, which accommodates up to 5,000 people per night with an en-suite Theme Park which attracts 1.5 million visitors per season. Our animal collection is the most popular in the country and has won many awards and accolades for our conservation and research programmes.
In 1992 the Company built a 150 acre theme park attraction named Pleasure Island from scratch in Cleethorpes, North East Lincolnshire which attracted 250,000 visitors in its first season. This operation was sold in 2010.
We have also owned and operated a Football League Club and Stadium during our tenure at Bradford City FC and Valley Parade, respectively. This trading business was sold in 2004 but the stadium ownership was retained within the business
Within our team we have also experienced developing within the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park with success. Castle Steadings (off the A82) and The Orchards housing development in Arrochar are examples of this.
Looking to the future, Flamingo Land has been appointed as the preferred bidder status on an exciting new development in Scarborough. This leisure attraction, office and retail space again demonstrates the diversity which we possess within our organisation and the trust that Scarborough District Council have in us to improve the appeal of the resort to the rest of the UK.
History Of West Riverside
As early as 1844 a new railway company had been proposed, the Caledonian & Dumbartonshire Railway, to run between Glasgow and both Balloch and Helensburgh. Not enough money could be raised, so the promoters decided to concentrate on a railway between Bowling and Balloch. It was in an ideal position therefore not just to act as a passenger interchange between the Clyde steamers and the Balloch train and onward to the Loch steamers, but also as transhipment point for coal from central Scotland coalfields into the Vale factories, and bleached and printed textiles out.
Since 1846 the steamers had been using a new pier at Drumkinnon Bay that stood 300 feet out into Loch Lomond, so that the steamers weren’t at the mercy of the level of the River Leven. In a short time the railway was generating enough passenger traffic to Balloch Pier to keep three steamers busy
The economic impact of the railway has been frequently referred to, but the physical impact must also have impressed the locals at the time. Before the railway arrived, there had been virtually no buildings of any sort on the west bank of the Leven at Balloch from the Heather Avenue to the southern shore of Loch Lomond, and from the bridge to Luss Road. Within a matter of a few months all that had changed with considerable visual impact. Not only had the railway line been laid, but also a terminus operation had been built around Balloch Central Station. Although the line actually terminated at Balloch Pier, all of the buildings, sidings etc needed to support the end of a steam train line were erected at the Central Station.
A turntable to turn the engines was added a few hundred yards south of Balloch Pier, and the round brick-built enclosure in which it was housed.
History of Drumkinnon Bay
The Drumkinnon area is really made up of the now housing estate, the bay at Lomond Shores and the Wood. (This can be seen in the picture at the bottom of the page).
Most of the history of this area is seen more through pictures than recorded. The pictures by and large show a strip of woodland what is now classed as Drumkinnon Wood which dates to the 18th Century and would have fields surrounding it. The area that is now the housing development used to be the site of the old British Silk Dyeing Co factory(the factory tower can be seen in the pictures below). Also according to maps part of the 18th century wood was removed to accommodate the new estate. The now site of Lomond Shores and its associated car park was the old quarry which was used in the middle of the 20th Century.
Our Vision of West Riverside and Drumkinnon Wood
West Riverside is a key site for the future development of Loch Lomond as a high quality and attractive tourist destination.
It is an important ‘placemaking opportunity’ and our proposals are focussed on :
Delivering a characterful contemporary design which will ensure that the development has a sense of place appropriate to Balloch, Loch Lomond and the National park
Structuring the design around new pedestrian and cycle friendly routes and spaces to link our development, the station and Lomond Shores
Providing a strong landscape framework for all elements of the site
Developing a commercial mix of uses that will animate the site and maximise footfall thereby ensuring development and long term sustainability
Our proposals recognise the key sensitivities of developing in the National Park on a prime wooded and waterfront location but they also recognise the key need for development which has sufficient ambition to transform the present use of the site.
We propose activities and accommodation which will drive the volume of visitors to the site that we consider are required to sustain the high quality facilities that SE and the Park wish to see developed. We understand that this level of ambition will require detailed development discussions and consultation with Planning and the local community. We are keen and committed to carrying this out to realise what will be a series of linked, unique new destinations within Balloch at the Leven and Lomond Shores.
Woodbank is the relatively modern name for an old estate and house. The original estate appears on early charters and maps as Stuikrodger, and Stuikrogert until about the end of the 18th century. By 1847 it appears as Woodbank. There has been a house on this estate, and probably on the site of the present Woodbank House, since the 16th century. It started as a simple building but has been steadily altered to the attractive building it now is, even in its current state of decay. It was converted to the Woodbank Hotel in the early 20th century and for many years after the war was regarded as probably the best place to eat in the area. It also had a thriving downstairs bar much frequented by locals from the Tullichewan housing scheme, who until 1972-3 and the building of the slip road up to the Alexandria by-pass, only had to cross a couple of fields to get to it. This also made it popular with poachers who could easily slip in and out of the bar onto Stoneymollan hill to net a few rabbits, but still have a bar full of witnesses as their alibi. The building of the by-pass had a negative impact on its business. It changed hands, closed and re-opened as the Hamilton House hotel for a while before closing permanently. In spite of being a listed building, and being on an endangered buildings list, nothing has been done to prevent the Woodbank’s decline.
The Woodbank estate was purchased by Flamingo Land in 2016 with a view to create a sustainable business that would allow the building to be preserved for the future. In the short time we have owned the property we have managed to clear around the buildings to allow access for structural surveys and also to erect fencing to make safe as much of the property as we can from unwanted guests.
Our Vision For The Woodbank Hotel
Disappointingly and its only early on however the potential to rebuild the house in its current state may not be something that can be viably achieved. However we will very much look to make the most of what is left and preserve this so that the history of the house isn’t lost as so many buildings are. The many outbuildings are in a much better state and we would look to make use of these and bring them back to their former glory.
We would also look to make use of the area above the house the site of the old walled garden along with the fields. This will be a potential mixture of Camping, holiday cottages and residential homes.
We are looking forward to the Great Scottish Swim taking place on the 25th August this year. We hope to become involved in more great events such as these in the future. Good Luck to all Swimmers on the day! http://www.greatrun.org/great-swim/great-scottish-swim
Our planning team have been working hard to produce a PAC report which will contain all of the views and comments we received during the local community and public consultation in 2017. This feedback will also be given careful consideration in the production of our ‘planning application in principal’ (PPIP) proposals. We will shortly provide …
Thanks to everyone who came to share their views and opinions at our exhibition this week. All feedback is valued and appreciated. For those of you who weren’t able to attend, or who would like to take another look at the proposals, the displays presented at the event are now available to download here… Iconic …