A COMMUNITY leader in Luss is calling for a traffic management plan to be put in place urgently following a weekend of chaos when the picturesque village was swamped by crowds of visitors out to enjoy the good weather.

David Pretswell, convener of Luss and Arden Community Council, has hit out at Argyll and Bute Council for not implementing a detailed plan previously drawn up by the community to prevent congestion which regularly occurs in the village in summer.

In a strongly worded letter to bosses at the council and Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, Mr Pretswell says: “The very extreme tourist and visitor pressure on Luss village is completely unsustainable and the rate of deterioration of residents’ quality of life is rapidly accelerating.”

His comments come after widespread dismay among residents as crowds ignored government advice and flocked to the village where car parks and toilets were shut on the first weekend since lockdown restrictions were eased.

READ MORE: Fire engine crashes, councillor 'nearly knocked down', and public use beach as an open-air toilet: stories from a weekend of chaos in Luss and Arrochar

They also ignored highly publicised advice to stay away from the national park.

Many locals, fearing the continuing risk from Covid-19, retreated indoors to stay safe.

Mr Pretswell described the weekend events as “an unmanaged, predictable disgrace” and said there was now an urgent need for talks to resume with the council, national park and other stakeholders to put the community sponsored traffic management plan back on the agenda.

He said: “I am calling on Pippa Milne, the council’s chief executive, to dust off the promise she made to Jackie Baillie MSP to put the traffic plan in front of the local area committee to get it implemented.”

READ MORE: Extra wardens to be sent to Luss this weekend to tackle anti-social behaviour

In his email, which has been copied to national park chief executive Gordon Watson and the council’s head of roads and amenity services, Jim Smith, Mr Pretswell praises Argyll and Bute officials for scrapping their plan to reopen the visitor car park in Luss, reported in last week’s Advertiser, following guidance from the First Minister.

He writes: “Far better to have the correct decision, even if late in the process.

“We’re so used to talking about the impact of traffic on the quality of life of residents of Luss village that it’s easy to forget that we’re still in the middle of a live pandemic, making decisions with potential to affect life itself for many of our still-lockdowned, isolating and vulnerable community.

READ MORE: Council scraps plan to reopen car parks at Luss, Arrochar, Duck Bay and Helensburgh

He added: “We know that it’s not easy planning a route back to relative normality from where we are now, but consultation, engagement and use of local knowledge are essential to help ensure this.

"On behalf of our Luss and Arden Community Council, we give notice of our intent and willingness to participate fully in adding value to this process - please do revert soonest as to how this can best be achieved.”

A spokeswoman for Argyll and Bute Council said: “We share the community council’s wish to improve the situation in Luss.

“We will take the revised traffic regulation order, as agreed with the community council, to the area committee as soon as possible.

“This would not, however, address all issues that arose at the weekend.

READ MORE: Villagers take action over Luss tourist traffic 'nightmare'

“We are therefore looking at what we can do in the immediate term – we are continuing to work with the National Park and police in order to best manage the issues, we are dedicating extra resources to Luss this weekend, by having more wardens on site, and we are asking people to stay away for now and to follow the guidance.”

Gordon Watson, chief executive of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park Authority, said: “It was extremely disappointing to see so many key visitor hotspots in the National Park busy over the weekend with a significant minority of people ignoring the national guidance to stay close to home and not gather in crowded places.

“While this wasn’t happening everywhere in the National Park, some places did get particularly busy and experienced some very disappointing behaviours, including littering, which is particularly upsetting for the people who live in these communities and those who are then expected to clear up afterwards."

READ MORE: Check out all the latest news headlines from across Helensburgh and Lomond here