This week's crop of readers' letters to the Advertiser includes your views on the Lomond Banks development proposals in Balloch, the rights and wrongs of a 'smacking ban' in Scotland, and dementia care.

To have your say on any topic of local interest, just email your views to with 'Letter' in the subject line of your message, or get in touch via the Send Us Your News section of this website.

Please try and keep your views as brief and to-the-point as you can, and remember to supply us with your name and address.

We also require a daytime telephone number in case we need to check any details at short notice, though this will not be published.

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I’m well aware the Flamingo Land proposals (Advertiser, June 13) are only very marginally like a theme park but that still doesn’t mean they are right for Balloch and the Vale of Leven.

Policy is clear that in a National Park environmental issues must take precedence over short-term opportunities. However, this developer’s extensive £30m tourism and leisure proposals have many other serious implications which will be felt by businesses and residents in the local community as well as tourists.

Here are several aspects which have as yet received little consideration.

Stated employment provision has varied but is around 80 full-time and 50 part-time posts, and 70 seasonal jobs. This is surely an underestimate.

The proposals at Station Square across from the railway terminus, comprising a craft-brewery with bar, 32 room bunkhouse, separate restaurant, monorail station terminus, bike hire facility and general servicing could well come quite close to that figure, never mind other major proposals including well over 100 self-catering lodges and chalets, while a 60 bedroom hotel would be just part of a second sizeable development adjoining the Pier Head and Lomond Shores.

These quoted employment figures must surely relate to Flamingo Land Ltd’s own employment, with individual businesses such as an Alexandria firm’s microbrewery, and the hotel complex near Lomond Shores, adding to these full-time, part-time and seasonal employment figures. Some of this employment would no doubt be at the expense of existing businesses.

READ MORE: Helensburgh Advertiser letters: June 13, 2019

Flamingo Land’s director Andy Miller keeps repeating that West Riverside between Pier Road and the River Leven would be “as green as it is now”.

Really? There would be a monorail down one side adjoining Pier Road. There would be a necessarily wide boardwalk along the river, catering for everyone from boat owners to long distance walkers on the John Muir Trail and at the start of the Three Lochs Way, as well as the visitors, local families, dog walkers and cyclists who, all the year round, enjoy the varied routes through much of this currently quiet wooded and grassed area close to the centre of Balloch.

Add in around 40 widely distributed single storey woodland lodges and associated picnic, barbecue and play areas with all the (non-car, apparently) infrastructure these require, and the many hundreds of mature trees and limited wildlife would be struggling.

It is true that this area is designated 'visitor experience' in the current Local Plan, but that must not mean a need for further development. Just a bit of tidying up, round the edges and elsewhere, would enhance what is already an excellent visitor experience, but clearly doesn’t appeal to the current owners, the government agency Scottish Enterprise.

Drumkinnon Wood, on the other side of Pier Road and bordering Loch Lomond Shores on the north, does not have a 'visitor experience' designation in the Local Plan, but is also owned by Scottish Enterprise.

Here, just across from Lomond Shores, there is a proposed children’s play area, together with adventure themed rides and walkways, all below tree canopy height.

The rest of this forested area could have about 30 single storey woodland lodges among the path network. There would be a 12-metre stand-off from the dwellings at Drumkinnon Gate adjoining Balloch Road.

However, this long neglected but still very attractive extensive forested area should continue, but with improvements, to form an ideal buffer in planning terms between Loch Lomond Shores and the built-up centre of Balloch.

A limited amount of path maintenance is needed, and several new pedestrian accesses including one directly across from the main Lomond Shores building, and another near the top of Pier Road quite close to the railway station irrespective of the dubious car parking referred to above.

Add in good signage, including information on the woodland, limited wildlife and fairly recent industrial history, and this area would have a new lease of life. Local walks and walking links to the rest of Balloch would immediately be added to the many potential activities already available to visitors to Lomond Shores Centre.

Should much of this major Scottish Enterprise and Flamingo Land planning application be refused, or withdrawn, as many local people would wish, and community ownership becomes a possibility again, this would be a very manageable area for local people to acquire and care for. I would certainly volunteer myself to help with path clearance and related work.

READ MORE: Helensburgh Advertiser letters: June 6, 2019

Unlike Drumkinnon Wood, the seldom-mentioned but extensive Woodbank House area is designated 'visitor experience' in the Local Plan.

However, unlike pleasant West Riverside, which is already a 'visitor experience', that would currently be a total misnomer for this area.

The fields, woodland and ruinous B-listed Woodbank House and ancillary outbuildings, while readily accessible, are very seldom frequented except by curious passers-by or an occasional dog walker.

Another significant difference is that this is almost the only land in this planning application which is actually owned by Flamingo Land Ltd.

Their proposals here comprise up to about 50 lodges and small chalets, conservation and conversion of the old buildings for residential and self-catering use, together with half a dozen new houses.

These proposals would clearly need detailed planning consideration, but there is no doubt Balloch would benefit from more self-catering visitor accommodation.

So, could granting consent in this area, for which there is no other obvious 'visitor experience' use, be an alternative to sending Flamingo Land away with their tail between their legs?

Or, given that the land is still just within the National Park boundary along the A82 at this point, would this be the thin end of the policy wedge?

Come to the public meeting on Monday, June 24 and make your views known on these and numerous other issues.

Floris Greenlaw, Balloch

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READ MORE: Helensburgh Advertiser letters: May 30, 2019

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Following Maurice Corry's opinion article on smacking (Advertiser Comment, June 6), for those who say "I was smacked as a child, and I turned out fine", just stop.

That mode of thinking only helps continue and perpetuate the cycle of abuse.

Millions of children grow up in homes rife with domestic violence but are taught that it's acceptable because "that's how their parents were disciplined".

How many of those kids who are now adults were smacked on their hand or backside only?

I grew up with a fair number of people who were regularly hit across the head, arms, legs, and not just with an open hand. Those kids were told they deserved to be whacked with a belt for talking back.

Is it any wonder we all grow up with a guilty conscience complex? You may think you're fine, but you could behave in a way that clearly isn't. "Fine" is subjective.

Think of those who went to school during the belt/cane era. Some of you were disciplined over the most minor of things such as forgetting a pencil. Many teachers would single out certain pupils for daily punishment. How was that effective?

Yes, the evidence of physical punishment may disappear, but the psychological side may never heal.

Whether I misbehaved or not, I still knew right or wrong. An adult who weighs at least three times more than a child should not be hitting them.

We live in a country where the motto "the old ways are the best ways" is still acceptable. It's not.

I'm not saying don't give kids into trouble. If they've done wrong, then they need to be punished accordingly. Grounding or curfews, rescinding privileges such as gaming or TV, and non-essential mobile device use.

Just because your parents or grandparents skelped their offspring, doesn't mean you need to.

Kellymarie Beggs (via Facebook)

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READ MORE: Helensburgh Advertiser letters: May 23, 2019

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Following another tremendous Dementia Awareness Week delivered in part by our wonderful and dedicated volunteers across the country, I wish to express my sincere appreciation to everyone who took the time to support our week of awareness-raising, fundraising and campaigning, which ultimately aims to help make sure nobody faces dementia alone.

We opened the week by staging our Annual Conference in the capital which provided us with the unique opportunity to gather world-leading researchers, academics, practitioners and policy makers alongside people living with dementia, to continue our collective movement for change, for people living with dementia now and in the future.

I was truly inspired across the day by all the fantastic work taking place across the country to help us transform dementia care and policy.

There are more than 90,000 people living with dementia in Scotland today and that number is on the rise.

We have some of the most progressive rights-based policies of anywhere in the world, but they are not all being delivered locally and therein lies the problem.

That is why every day we are campaigning to ensure that people living with dementia are treated fairly. We are tackling inequality head on to ensure fair and equitable access, to high quality dementia support and information to help people to live well with dementia and to support the urgent fight to prevent dementia.

Alongside this we must strive for more effective treatments, that can target and if not eradicate the disease process or at the very least delay it.

Drug discovery of this nature is in sight and that is why we are so committed to developing our research infrastructure and platform in Scotland.

Research is informing us more about dementia prevention, how to improve the quality of life of those living with the illness and will ultimately help to find a cure.

You can play your part today by signing up to Join Dementia Research, to help Scotland build the largest cohort of willing research participants and start your journey to help us transform our understanding of the illness.

Together we can be a leading force for change. Together we can ensure nobody faces dementia alone.

Henry Simmons (chief executive, Alzheimer Scotland)