Luss development plans revealed

A masterplan for the development of ‘the most beautiful village in Scotland’ has been unveiled by landowners Luss Estates.

Their vision for the future of the Loch Lomondside village of Luss includes 78 new family homes, cars being banned from its historic streets and the creation of a new ‘village green’.

Luss is one of Scotland’s most visited villages, with around 750,000 tourists every year, but the report published today warns that it could become ‘little more than a retirement community’.

Picturesque Luss welcomes hundreds of thousands of tourists every year
Picturesque Luss welcomes hundreds of thousands of tourists every year

Commissioned by Luss Estates Company and written by award-winning urban design and economic development team of Page Park Architects and Roger Tym Associates, the document argues that improvements to infrastructure, a drive to create greater economic opportunity and a wider provision of housing is needed.

And the launch was accompanied by blunt warnings that the village school could close because there are not enough pupils currently.

The Luss Strategic Development Framework aims to set out how the village can proactively address population and economic decline, as well as coping with tourist influxes.

But it goes beyond consideration of the village itself, also looking at the potential development of sites including Glen Fruin, Arrochar and Tarbet.

It has already been welcomed by the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority – director of operations Gordon Watson said: “This represents a fantastic opportunity to rethink how Luss works as both a community and a visitor destination.

“As the main landowner, Luss Estates will be key to delivering the aspirations of the framework and I am delighted they have initiated this process.

Potential new housing areas are indicated in yellow here
Potential new housing areas are indicated in yellow here

“Our role now is to consult more widely on the proposals before adopting them as planning policy, and to engage other key partners such as Argyll and Bute Council to deliver these plans on the ground.”

A 40-page, 60-megabyte ‘executive summary’ of the proposals is available by clicking on a link at the end of this story.

Luss Estates say it follows 18  months of extensive research and consultation with the local community as well as bodies including Argyll and Bute Council and the national park.

It addresses four key issues facing Luss: population, demographic and housing; economy and employment; transport and arrival, and setting.

The report argues that planning policies in the conservation village must be reviewed to provide housing, so that more young families are attracted to Luss, driving economic growth, creating a more sustainable community, and strengthening the village’s position as an area service hub.

“An ambition for a broad range of family housing, not exclusive to affordable provision or solely for local need,” is recommended, with potential sites in and around Luss identified which could accommodate up to 78 new family homes.

Car parking, tourism and commercial issues are also considered
Car parking, tourism and commercial issues are also considered

It also calls for improved communication technology, such as high speed broadband and mobile coverage, and for the exploration of business opportunities with, where feasible, the provision of business premises.

The Luss Strategic Development Framework was launched today by Sir Malcolm Colquhoun of Luss, chair of Luss Estates, at an event attended by members of the community, as well as representatives of both the national park and Argyll and Bute Council.

Sir Malcolm said: “From the aging demographic to traffic problems, roads that are in an awful state and generally poor retail offering, the picture presented by Luss today is, in many ways a sorry one.

“If the threatened closure of the school is carried out, Luss is in danger of becoming little more than a sunset community – something that few would wish to see happen. Change is urgently required, and I hope this document stimulates both debate and action.”

The executive summary of the framework can be downloaded here (very large file): Luss Development Framework EXEC SUMMARY pages highres

2 Comments

  1. I’ve only scanned it, but there seems a fair bit of common ground between this and the RPWCDT’s Action Plan. Interesting and food for thought.

  2. Some common ground maybe, I don’t know about the Kilcreggan area really, but it seems to have a lot more emphasis on new housing, without very much else – any new businesses would be tourism related, and it doesn’t seem very clear about what they would be. I have an aunt who lives in Luss so know the village slightly; it’s true that the ‘approach’ from the A82 is less than great, and pedestrianising the streets might be a good idea. But the main issue for residents is the sheer number of visitors, especially at weekends – it’s like living in a goldfish bowl, with tourists literally photographing people through their windows on occasion. Would this plan solve that? Far from it, I think. And 78 houses seems rather a lot.

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