HELENSBURGH and Lomond’s green belt could come under pressure in the decades to come if its population increases, a report has warned.

The area is earmarked as a key area for growth in Argyll and Bute, partly due to the development of HMNB Clyde, in a report accompanying the local development plan.

The document, which went before the full council on Thursday, September 26, says that the area has been identified for growth as part of the authority’s spatial strategy.

The local development plan lined up for the meeting is a second draft of a document for Argyll and Bute first drawn up in 2015.

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The report states: “Helensburgh and Lomond has been identified as a growth area in the spatial strategy.

“This is based on the council’s stated aim that Argyll and Bute’s economic success is built on: a growing population, and the opportunities which the Helensburgh and Lomond area provide to achieve this.

“The development of HMNB Clyde as the UK’s single submarine base by 2025 provides significant opportunities to achieve this.

“It will result in a significant increase of around 1,700 new naval staff and their families by 2030, and will provide ongoing opportunities for associated civilian construction projects, as well as the potential to create employment in supply chain, servicing and support businesses.

“These, coupled with the area’s proximity and connectivity to Glasgow and the central belt, and its high quality environment make it a potentially attractive location for commuters and for further growth in tourism.

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“The opportunities to adopt a flexible, sustainable approach to growth opportunities in the Helensburgh area are potentially limited by the green belt, which has been established to contain the expansion of settlements and retain their landscape setting in the long term.

“However, if the area increases its population and creates employment opportunities as is anticipated, the green belt will come under pressure at some stage in the future.

“There is currently sufficient development land identified in the LDP2 to avoid immediate need for a review of the Green Belt.

“However, there is also merit in exploring how Helensburgh and Lomond can develop over a 20-40 year period in order to plan appropriate infrastructure, encourage further investment, and consider, if and how a green belt review would be necessary.”

The report also suggested that by adopting a 20 to 40-year time frame, this would help secure Helensburgh’s long-term future and avoid the need for frequent boundary reviews of the green belt.

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It added: “Argyll and Bute Council propose to carry out a review of the Helensburgh and Lomond Greenbelt boundaries through a strategic development framework, to provide a framework for the provision of infrastructure and future development.

“[This is] whilst recognising and safeguarding the key environmental features of the greenbelt, the landscape setting of settlements forming part of the Cardross- Helensburgh-Garelochhead corridor, and the contribution which the green network around these communities can make to providing for sustainable development.”