Land Use and Development Plan 2023-2033

A roadmap for resiliant land use

Page\Park worked with Luss Estates Company on their Land Use & Development Plan 2023–2033, a year-long process of consultation and development aimed at sustaining and enhancing rural community life across the Estate in the face of global climate and biodiversity challenges. Building on the successful 2013 Luss Strategic Development Framework, this new plan aims to build resilience and support local communities over the next decade, while aligning with National Planning Framework 4 and meeting the expectations of the Scottish Land Commission for large landholdings. The Plan serves as a roadmap for the Estate, facilitating constructive dialogue with Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority as they prepare their next Local Development Plan.

Through extensive consultation with the local communities of Luss & Arden, and Arrochar, Tarbet, & Ardlui, the plan reflects the aspirations and concerns of local people, businesses, and stakeholders along West Loch Lomondside. In parallel with this project, and using a shared base of consultation, both communities have independently developed Local Place Plans, covering the next 5-10 years.

Context for Change

Since the 2013 Framework, local communities have grappled with rural depopulation and an aging demographic, impacting services and local businesses. The pandemic, surge in staycations, and cost-of-living challenges worsened these issues, shifting the profile of property ownership and straining visitor management.

Outside buyers outbidding locals has driven housing prices up, and a study in the Arrochar and Tarbet locality found 77% of owner-occupied properties sold had become holiday lets or second homes. Population decline persists, particularly among families, putting schools at risk. Argyll and Bute’s 10-year projection shows a 6% drop, contrasting Scotland’s overall growth. All the while Luss faces unmanageably high visitor numbers, estimated to be 850k each year, while Arrochar & Tarbet struggle with encouraging the large numbers of walkers passing through each year to stop and spend money in the local economy.


During preparation of the Plan, an extensive programme of engagement was undertaken, focused at three levels: community; businesses; and with key stakeholders. The bespoke community engagement exercise saw total of 120 people share aspirations for Luss & Arden, with 28% of the local population participating, while 293 people shared aspirations for Arrochar, Tarbet, Succoth & Ardlui, or 36%. Key messages from the consultations highlighted common themes across both communities: shortages of affordable housing and workers, concerns about tourism impact, and the need for improved community facilities and infrastructure. Additionally, retaining young people and enhancing road safety emerged as priorities.

Stakeholder engagement took place in the form of three dedicated workshops, which encouraged discussion about the competing priorities and challenges that characterise working in the National Park setting. In addition to representatives from the local community councils and development trusts, the workshops were attended by:

  • Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park Authority
  • Argyll & Bute Council
  • Transport Scotland
  • Visit Scotland
  • NatureScot
  • Friends of Loch Lomond
  • Scotrail
  • And local housing associations

Striking a Balance

The Plan outlines future development proposals across the Estate. Proposed outcomes include growing the permanent communities with diverse housing options, collaborating on improved traffic management, establishing new safe walking and cycling routes, creating a community fund, and altering land use to boost access, biodiversity, and carbon sequestration.

Yet, tensions persist at various levels, impacting daily life within the park due to policy and economic factors. West Loch Lomondside draws visitors globally, while also serving as a residential and work hub for rural communities navigating remote and seasonal challenges. Balancing sustaining local communities and businesses against the conservation of natural beauty and addressing climate change poses significant challenges. The Plan aims to chart a viable path forward, finding equilibrium and encouraging thoughtful compromise, while staying focused on sustaining thriving communities across the Estate and the wider Park area.


In 2023, Luss Estates Company conducted a carbon audit to assess their environmental impact and outline strategies for carbon reduction and sequestration over the next 20-30 years. Currently, the estate is carbon negative with successful initiatives such as a community hydroelectric power scheme, peatland restoration projects, biomass boiler heating for the local hotel, and extensive tree planting. However, the audit revealed that 73% of carbon emissions originate from livestock enterprises, demonstrating the challenges in land management with respect to farming and grazing.

Building on this good work to-date, the Land Use and Development Plan includes a dedicated section on the environment, setting out proposals for the next decade which include:

  • Four projects to decarbonise the local energy system, including two additional hydroelectric schemes.
  • Rebalanced land use to enhance carbon sequestration and biodiversity through deer and sheep population control, nature regeneration schemes, and management of non-native invasive species.
  • Promotion of an Agri-Environment Climate Scheme to incentivise sustainable practices.

Project Info

Luss Estates Company
West Loch Lomondside
November 2023
Community consultation
Business and stakeholder engagement
Strategic development planning
Nick Wright Planning
Socio Economic