THE leader of West Dunbartonshire Council has urged the Scottish Government to call in the bid to build a £30 million holiday park at Loch Lomond, the Sunday National can reveal.

The £30 million project has generated more objections to planners than any other.

More than 57,000 people have added their names to a petition by Green MSP Ross Greer urging planners not to green-light the development of a major new resort by the owners of Yorkshire’s Flamingo Land.

Lomond Banks would offer a hotel, lodges, water park, monorail, brewery and housing if approved by the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park Authority.

Approval would see the scheme created on lochside land bought by Scottish Enterprise for more than £2m.

But it is understood that the ground – zoned for development as it was once used for industry – could be sold to Flamingo Land Ltd for just £200,000.

Last month West Dunbartonshire Council (WDC) agreed to oppose the creation of the resort, claiming it would destroy the local environment, cripple the road system and threaten the local economy.

Council leader Jonathon McColl raised concerns that the land sale may even break “best value” laws over the disposal of public assets.

READ MORE: Loch Lomond development: Councillors reject leisure park plan

Today the Sunday National can reveal that he has made a formal request to the Scottish Government to step in, claiming that the unelected body – which helped make Flamingo Land Ltd the preferred bidder for the land – must not have the final say.

The intervention comes two months before the controversial application, which has generated interest internationally, comes before the full board of the national park.

The agenda has not yet been published, but this newspaper understands that the bid’s inclusion has been confirmed for discussion on September 23.

In his letter to Communities and Local Government Secretary Aileen Campbell, McColl states that he is writing on behalf of the whole council on a matter of “national significance”.

He says: “The decision will have an impact on the local economy and very fabric of our local community for generations to come.”

Urging Campbell to take control of the matter, he says: “This decision is too important to be left in the hands of a planning authority that, while perfectly well intentioned, are ultimately not democratically accountable to the public.

“Public perception on this matter will be incredibly important for the Scottish Government, and it is important that the process is seen to be transparent and completely beyond reproach; given that the national park are joint applicants in this process, we feel that it would be appropriate for the Scottish Government to call in the application and for ministers to take the final decision.”

On the illegality fears, he said that he was “assured that Scottish Enterprise would respond ... but to date they remain silent on the matter, leaving councillors and the public without answers”.

He went on: “Should a development be approved and built, but ultimately fail, the council and Scottish Government will have little or no control over what might happen to the land, and it may lie derelict for years to come.

“I would urge the Scottish Government to intervene and insist on a renegotiation of terms between Scottish Enterprise and the developer (or any future developer) to ensure that public ownership of this important site is retained for the long term.”

The Flamingo Land bid has already been substantially altered from the original plans were submitted.

It would see new buildings erected within full view of the existing Loch Lomond Shores retail and leisure development, and the hotel would be taller than Drumkinnon Tower, which houses the Loch Lomond Aquarium.

The bid is headed by local man Andy Miller, whose minister father is well known, and craft beer business Loch Lomond Brewery, currently based in nearby Jamestown, are in line to move in to the proposed taproom.

That shift would allow the ale firm to expand, and supporters also say the scheme would create much-needed employment.

But writing for this newspaper last month, WDC councillor Jim Bollan accused the developer, national park and Scottish Enterprise of concocting a “sweetheart deal”, stating: “As the planning authority, the LLPA sat on the selection panel with Scottish Enterprise, who are joint applicants for the development, and selected Flamingo Land as the preferred bidder.

“The LLPA now has the task of granting or rejecting the planning application from the same preferred bidder they helped to select in the first place.

“A conflict of interest? As a councillor with 30 years’ experience, I would suggest none of the 32 councils in Scotland would be legally allowed to behave in this highly questionable manner.”

The call for the Scottish Government to call in the application was backed by Alannah Maurer of Save Loch Lomond, which has gathered cross-party support to look at alternative developments for the area and retain public ownership.

“This is the most unpopular planning application in Scotland and it has to be given parliamentary scrutiny,” she said.

“We are constantly accused by the developers of misrepresenting this but the reality is that it is not just a local issue as it is a national park and belongs to everyone. It does not matter if the 56,923 people who have so far signed the petition against the development live here or not.

“The sale of public land to one multi-million developer is a big issue and it would be bizarre if the SNP Government did not call it in.

“If this goes ahead there will be less access to green space. We should be securing the land forever. It should be developed for the public by the public.”

The National: Ross Greer MSP

Greer (above) agreed the decision should not be left to the national park’s Board.

“Given Loch Lomond’s world famous natural beauty, as well as the major contribution it makes to Scotland’s tourism economy, there is a clear case for this decision to be called in and recognised for its national importance,” he said.

However a spokesperson for Scottish Enterprise said it was “disappointing” WDC did not recognise the “opportunity” the plans represented.

“Lomond Banks offers a dynamic future for a site that has largely been neglected for the past 30 years,” she said. “We’re proposing a unique leisure-based development to give Scotland a quality destination that respects and complements the surrounding area and that is accessible, affordable and family oriented.

“The £30m investment will create around 200 jobs and is inspired by award-winning tourism and forest adventure parks and woodland accommodation already on offer in Scotland’s national parks.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said ministers could not comment on live planning cases, adding that it was the responsibility of the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park Authority, “as the relevant planning authority, to determine the application”.

A spokesperson for the national park said dates for a site visit, public hearing and Board meeting were “currently being identified and will be publicised to all interested parties when confirmed”.

Andy Miller, Director of Lomond Banks, said: “We are confident in the planning process and following the guidelines set by Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park.”