Case Studies

Family business expands its reach onto Loch Lomond

A family business that employs around 90 full and part time staff in one of Scotland’s tourism hotspots is set to welcome more visitors to Balmaha after building a new pontoon on the east side of Loch Lomond.

8th June 2018

The Oak Tree Inn, which has been helped by Business Gateway Stirling, was granted planning permission for the pontoon by The Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park planning department, after discussing the idea with Stirling Council, Montrose Estates, and the National Park for a number of years.

Officially opened on June 8th by James Graham, the 8th Duke of Montrose, the pontoon will be named the 1782 pier to commemorate the repeal of the Act of Proscription.

Cruise Loch Lomond, who operate out the northern end of the Loch, are already offering circular cruises from the £108,000 pontoon, which was part funded with a 25k grant from Forth Valley and Lomond Leader.

The pontoon also provides disabled access to and from the shore of east Loch Lomond for the first time.

Sandy Fraser, who built The Oak Tree Inn 20 years ago with his wife, Lucy, said: “We have been working with various agencies over the last three years to improve access to east Loch Lomondside and we are delighted to have reached a long term agreement with Montrose Estates to deliver a solution.

“Without the help and support of Forth Valley, Lomond Leader and Business Gateway Stirling the pontoon project would not have been possible. By installing the pontoon we open up the Loch to more visitors and, equally as important, the local community at large who will be able to enjoy the new pontoon including many people with mobility difficulties.

“At every stage of our growth we have worked very closely with Business Gateway Stirling, our advisor Jason Clark has provided support with everything from funding applications to more specialist advice in areas such as HR. His advice, knowledge and connections have been invaluable helping us become more efficient, profitable and a significant employer and his input has been critical to the success of our projects.”

Jason Clark Business Gateway Stirling said: “The Fraser Family are always looking for opportunities to grow their various enterprises in a way that benefits the local community in which they live and the new pontoon will certainly do that. Over the past three years, we have provided a range of guidance including HR support that led to an update of the Inn’s HR policies and procedures and staff handbook. Most recently, specialist support helped them review their food and drink offering in time for the busy summer season.”

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