PLANS have been unveiled to regenerate a neglected Loch Lomond island and create a “world class place” for visitors to enjoy its “unique natural beauty”.

Inchconnachan, meaning ‘the Colquhoun’s island’, is situated just off the western shore of southern Loch Lomond, close to the village of Luss, and was sold in March last year, having been listed for offers over £500,000.

New owners Nick and Kirsty Jones hope to restore the island’s habitat and reverse years of environmental decline, with ambitious plans for a “world class visitor experience”.

The couple, who run Blantyre-based construction and development firm Sunax Ltd, aim to transform the island, which extends to about 103 acres and has been in the ownership of the Colquhoun family since the 14th century but has lain uninhabited for the last 20 years.

Proposals submitted by ABC Planning and Design on behalf of the couple include a new three-bedroom, two-storey timber lodge to be used for short-term holiday lets.

A new boathouse will be used as warden’s accommodation and other outbuildings will be created to replace the existing derelict lodge, boat shelter and outbuildings.

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The existing site will be cleared to create a natural wet woodland, with temporary jetties and paths also built.

Supporting information submitted to the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority states: “Nick has a global hotel and hospitality company and Kirsty grew up in Stirlingshire.

“The last few decades has seen the island fall into a neglected state and it will remain so unless there is a dedicated commitment and serious financial input.

“Environmentally, the island is in a very poor condition and without a substantial and curated strategy it will continue to suffer. We believe, as a collective, we can grasp the opportunity to reverse this decline.

“With the island of Inchconnachan, Nick and Kirsty’s goal is to create a world class place for everybody to enjoy its unique natural beauty.”

The applicants say they are “committed to immediate action and long-term environmental management” of the island and will eradicate invasive species, remove exotic species and promote natural regeneration.

Noting problems with anti-social behaviour both on the island and on the water, particularly during the summer months, a design and access statement adds: “We believe this is [a] thoughtful and world class proposal and there are comprehensive planning, social, economic and environmental reasons for the National Park Authority to support the development.

“The purchase of Inchconnachan gives all stakeholders the unique opportunity to work in collaboration to reverse the decline in historic and environmentally sensitive areas within the Scottish landscape.

“The new owner (applicant) recognises the long-term investment required and is committed to addressing the outcomes of the National Park partnership plan in relation to conservation and land management, visitor experience, rural development and job creation all under a comprehensive and sustainable island wide management plan and stewardship.”

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