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Water park gets green light

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By Marc McLean, local democracy reporter
Dumfries and West
Water park gets green light

A HOLIDAY park in Kirkcowan has been given permission to run summer watersports activities – as long as they are restricted to caravan users only.

Three Lochs Holiday Park had to apply for retrospective planning permission after installing an inflatable water park and storage unit in April last year.

Owner Mark Seaton was last week given the go-ahead by Dumfries and Galloway Council to continue with the fun water activities on Loch Ronald between May 1 and September 30 each year.

However, this is strictly on the conditions that the development is only available to holiday park guests – not the general public – and shall not be operated outwith May 1 and September 30 each year.

At last week’s planning committee, chairman Jim Dempster was on the verge of opposing the water park plans because he’d seen it being advertised with no mention of restrictions to the general public.

However, with conditions in place the decision ultimately went in favour of Three Lochs Holiday Park.

Jim Stewart, who has been the site manager at Three Lochs for over 20 years, made a presentation at last week’s meeting.

He described the development changes as introducing an “inflatable bouncy castle in the water for a period of time”.

Mr Stewart continued: “We see this as a small thing that runs through the summer. We don’t anticipate to make it any bigger.

“We’ve got the showers there and it’s all biodegradable products that’s used in the showers.”

The committee heard that the holiday park has been in operation since 1974 and was taken over by current owner Mark Seaton in 2014.

Since then it has grown from around 100 caravans to 200, and the site now employs eight people throughout the year, along with a further four employees during the summer months.

It also offers various activities including waterskiing, jetskiing, and paddle boarding on Loch Ronald.

The planning permission approval has disappointed numerous objectors who wrote to the council complaining that the water sports summer activities are detrimental to this beauty spot and “negatively impacting the environment”.

A letter from John Hosie, understood to be a previous caravan owner, was read out at the committee. He stated: “This proposal in essence is all about undermining the natural environment, with artificial noise, visual pollution, and with the general disturbance of the peace and tranquillity of the countryside.”

Other objectors have also claimed that the scale of the facility is “inappropriate for Loch Ronald”, and that jetski users are using the entire loch “without consideration for other loch users, especially anglers”.

However, the council’s planning case officer looked at various factors including the contribution to the local economy, compatibility with the local area, and the impact on the community, and concluded that the proposed development is acceptable as it complies with local and national policy.

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