PLANS for a new “leadership centre” on the shores of Loch Lomond at Ross Priory have been unanimously approved.

The Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park planning and access committee met online to hear arguments from both sides about the building.

Sir Tom Hunter represented the The Hunter Foundation, who made the initial application for a Strathclyde University-backed learning centre. It will be built at a site on the grounds of Ross Priory, near Gartocharn.

Sir Tom told the committee about how the centre would strengthen the range of facilities available at Ross Priory and deliver world-class teacher training.

Gavin McLellan spoke against the proposals on behalf of Kilmaronock Community Council. They were against the plan on ecological grounds, as neighbouring wildlife may be damaged and concerns over new sewage discharge from the area.

In the end, the committee unanimously backed the proposals for the new trainer teaching centre with construction expected to begin soon.

Following Monday's decision, Bob Darracott, chair of the National Park's planning and access committee, said: “This application has been approved unanimously by the committee, subject to conditions and a legal agreement with the applicant, following careful consideration of the planning assessment and detailed discussion.

"The process included hearing from speakers both in support and in objection to the proposal.

“When considering any new development in the National Park, there is always the need to strike a balance between ensuring this sensitive area is looked after while also supporting the social and economic wellbeing of the area.

"All of the responses and advice provided by statutory bodies, community members and our own internal advisers have been carefully weighed up in the process of this decision being made.

“The application was for a unique facility of the highest architectural quality that will help secure the future of Ross Priory and its estate in the longer term, but broadening its use providing huge benefits for both the National Park and for Scotland.”