THE latest letters to the Advertiser this week include further debate over the Flamingo Land proposals, the future of the Castle Woods, plus issues over child poverty.

To have your say on any local issue, email with 'Letter' in the subject line of your email.

Please include your name and address, and also a daytime phone number in case we need to check any details at short notice, though this will not be printed. Happy writing!

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There has been a great deal of coverage recently on Flamingo Land’s proposal to create a leisure development at Balloch.

This has understandably raised a number of questions and concerns in the community, with people keen to find out how this will affect the area.

However, there are a number of issues where the facts have not been represented accurately, and as a responsible business we would like to make sure people are in full possession of the facts before they decide how they feel about the plans.

It is worth making clear from the start that this land is not green belt - it is a former industrial site which was once home to a dye works.

It has been earmarked for a leisure and tourism development since the early 2000s.

The land is wooded, but it is not all ancient woodland. There is an area of ancient woodland within the site, which will be safeguarded as it is protected by law.

It has been written that the proposals will cause “widespread damage to wildlife, including otter populations”.

This is simply not the case. Extensive environmental impact assessments have been carried out, which are available to view on the planning portal.

Otters are protected by law and construction work would be carried out in accordance with legal requirements, stopping if necessary to safeguard all protected species.

Flamingo Land is in the business of caring for and protecting animals. The company has invested $700,000 over the past 10 years in conservation work in Tanzania.

The company also cares for its staff and refutes reported claims that it uses zero hours contracts.

Flamingo Land has never used zero hours contracts. Should the project go ahead, staff would be paid the Scottish Living Wage or higher.

It is envisaged that the development would bring a great deal of positive growth to Balloch in terms of jobs and tourism.

With this in mind, detailed transport and traffic studies have been carried out, with careful consideration given to the movement of visitors and residents around the area.

In short, we know that this is a major project with the potential to change the face of Balloch.

I’m passionate about the area and hope to be given the opportunity to bring prosperity back to this wonderful part of the world.

We understand residents’ concerns and we are here to listen to them, answer them and address them.

We hope that people take the time to look carefully at our proposals and make up their minds having read all the information.

Detailed plans, consultation documents and contact details are available at

Gordon Gibb

CEO, Flamingo Land Resort Yorkshire

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I certainly will not take the advice of Ian Miller, a local minister writing a piece printed in the Advertiser Comment page of September 27.

He needs to take his own advice. In his message that we should listen more than we speak he cites examples of the appreciation of woman remaining silent whilst men speak pearls of wisdom.

He further says that words really hurt. They certainly do! When women are told to be silent while daring to venture an opinion, that is called everyday sexism. Is he advocating that the women of #Me Too remain silent?

This theme continues in the letter from Richard Lucas, the leader of an esoteric, peripheral political party, who in taking MP Brandon O’Hara to task over his views on the lack of immigrant labour, advocates that families produce more children to fill the gap instead.

It is women who give birth, and they are or should be in charge of their own fertility and not producing offspring at the behest of random political notions, or is he advocating eugenics? That didn’t end well in 1940s Germany.

Your correspondent Norman Rodger certainly will not like the idea of more children in the area.

He will be horrified that they will further mess up the Faerie Glen at Luss.

He compares its creation to the proposed Flamingo Land at Balloch. The latter is irrevocable and will certainly affect the Loch Lomond area, the former is transient and can be restored.

It introduces children to the wonders of nature in an imaginative way and they in turn will be its keepers.

Reluctantly he acknowledges that it may have some merit, however not in this area!

He may be a nimby but at least he is not sexist. Maybe it is some men who need to listen more than they speak?

Linda Wight

Queens Point


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Helensburgh Community Woodlands Group was interested in the letter written by the owners of Castle Woods, Margery Osborne and Thomas Paterson and printed in last week’s issue of the Advertiser.

The letter stated that they “have absolutely no intentions whatsoever of building a housing estate comprising 72 houses on the land at Castle Woods”.

The problem is that the owners have consistently refused to withdraw their application for a 72 homes development in Castle Woods in spite of being requested to do so several times by planning officers in Argyll and Bute Council.

This means that the application remains live and Castle Woods therefore remains under threat of development.

If the owners are serious about having no intentions of building 72 homes in Castle Woods, they should withdraw their application.

Kathleen Siddle, (Secretary, Helensburgh Community Woodlands Group).

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Addressing disability poverty and the disability employment gap is key to tackling child poverty.

A report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation report confirms that 40 per cent of children in poverty in Scotland live in families where a family member has a disability or limiting health condition.

Disabled people have borne the brunt of UK Government welfare cuts, described by the UN as a human catastrophe, and are much less likely to be in employment.

Child poverty in Scotland will not be tackled until Governments start to take seriously the need to address disability poverty and the disability employment gap.

Bill Scott, Deputy Chief Executive of Inclusion Scotland

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Bereaved women and their families who have suffered a miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal death are invited to attend a Service of Remembrance at the Royal Alexandra Hospital, Paisley on Sunday, October 7.

This annual service provides bereaved women and their families an opportunity to remember in togetherness and hope the babies they have lost and to acknowledge how precious their life meant to them as a family.

This service will be held on Sunday, 7 October at 7pm in the Royal Alexandra Hospital Chapel.

Everyone is welcome to attend.

Lorna Thompson, Directorate Secretary, Maternity Unit, Royal Alexandra Hospital