PLANS to install a floating pontoon to be used by commercial boat tour operators on a Loch Lomond shoreline have been refused.

Planning chiefs at the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority said the proposed facility would "negatively impact on the tranquil character" of the area.

A replacement jetty had been proposed in Luss, next to the current rescue boat house, along with associated works to form an additional concrete ramp and access gates on the foreshore.

The application submitted by agents The Hay Partnership, on behalf of Luss Estates, earlier this year stated that the proposed new jetty would provide a “much better and more practical facility” which would be beneficial for younger, older and less ambulant visitors taking boat trips.

National Park officials, however, have decided to turn down the application, which received seven objections and one further representation raising concerns regarding the proposal.

An objection from Luss and Arden Community Council read: "Very little detail has been submitted with the application and following enquiries by the community council we understand from Luss Estates that the new jetty has been leased to Loch Lomond Leisure who will operate a slow island tour boat, rent fishing boats, provide speed boat tours and rib trips from the facility.

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"In context it is clear that it is intended that this relatively small beach area will form an integral part of a larger area of significantly increased commercial activity.

"The location of the proposed jetty, partly within the conservation area, is part of a prized small area of beach visited by thousands of tourists who come to take in the beauty of the surroundings and the impressive views over the loch.

"The proposal is contrary to three of the aims of the National Park: it will detract from the natural and cultural heritage of the area; it will cater for a minority of visitors at the expense and detriment of the majority; and it will have a negative impact on the social development of the community particularly in regard to the quality of life, health and wellbeing of residents.

"On balance we see no benefits to the community nor the vast majority of visitors to this beauty spot in this proposal."

Points of concern raised by a representative of the Loch Lomond Rescue Boat management committee included excessive noise from the passenger trips on the loch, litter, and existing delays in reaching the rescue boat due to traffic on the A82 and within Luss being exacerbated by the increase in visitors to the area.

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An objection from the Friends of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs conservation charity highlighted that the proposed jetty - approximately twice the length of the existing concrete structure - would be "too big for the area", and the development would have a "detrimental effect on an historically important part of Luss".

A delegated report on the plans recommended their refusal, and a final decision notice published on the National Park's website said: "The proposed replacement jetty would... fundamentally alter the ambience of the area by attracting a greater level of activity which would be demonstrably harmful to visitors' understanding and enjoyment of the area.

"The proposed jetty, due to its scale and 2m high gates, would dominate this section of the shoreline and result in a high magnitude of change for visual receptors such as boat users and visitors to the beach.

"The introduction of an overtly commercial element would seriously alter the nature of the surroundings thus negatively impacting on the tranquil character and appearance of this part of Luss conservation area."

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