Culloden: Fears of ‘runaway development’ at historic battlefield after home approved

Only around one-third of Culloden Battlefield is held by National Trust for Scotland with plans now emerging to buy out the remaining land to protect it from development

The Scotsman, Sept 2019 reports that Culloden Battlefield could be under threat from “runaway” development after a precedent of building homes on the historic site was set, it has been claimed.

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The claim comes after a luxury home was approved on land at Culchunaig, which sits just to the south of the part of the battlefield owned by National Trust for Scotland and a few hundred yards from the visitor centre.

The development at Culchunaig, which includes a hot tub, zen garden, fire pit, studio, gaming and chill out zone, was passed essentially as a 19th-century farm cottage had earlier stood on the land.

Councillor Andrew Jarvie (Conservative), of Inverness South, said he was concerned future development in the Culchunaig area will be very difficult to stop due to the precedent set at last week’s planning meeting.

He said: “I could not have been any more disappointed that it was in effect, impossible to do anything to stop this development which was right on the boundary fence of the battlefield and only a few hundred metres from the visitor centre itself.”

The Culchunaig plans were originally approved in 2015, just before the Culloden Muir Conservation Area was drawn up to protect the sensitive area around the battlefield.

The application dealt with last week was a revision of the original application.

Meanwhile, Historic Environment Scotland is “redrawing” its battlefield inventory of Culloden amid the planning controversies.

HES said the inventory would include new historical and archaeological research for Culloden.

Historians and academics are due to gather at Culloden next month to study the new improved inventory.

A spokesman for HES said: “The Battlefield Inventory was launched in 2011 and was designed to highlight Scotland’s most important battlefields”.

However, it is not clear how effective a new inventory could be in influencing the planning process.

National Trust for Scotland owns just a third of the land on which the battle was fought, leaving the remainder open to private development.

Dr Christopher Duffy, of the Historians Council said a new Culloden conservation group planned to focus on the acquisition of other parts of the battlefield in order to protect them from development.

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