Protest march at Culloden Battlefield against housing plan

Protestors will gather at Culloden on Saturday to demonstrate against plans to build 16 news homes close to the core 1746 battlefield site.

Thursday, 30th November 2017, 7:24 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 11:18 am
The proposed homes sit around 400 yards from the core battlefield at Culloden. PIC: Flickr/.Creative Commons/Herbert Frank.

Plans by Kirkwood Homes to build houses at Viewhill Farm, which sits around 400 yards north of the main battleground, have been met with resistance.

The proposed homes sit in the Culloden Muir conservation area with land at Viewhill Farm considered significant at the time of the battle given Government lines may have extended into this area.

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Conflict archaeologist Dr Tony Pollard, whose work at the battlefield has done much to aid understanding of events of April 16 1746, is amongst those who have raised concerns.

He said: “Culloden is an incredibly sensitive site. The site is very important to a lot of’s almost a place of pilgrimage. There’s a particular aspect to that landscape that you could quite easily destroy by building something that was unsuitable for that environment.”

The Group to Stop Development at Culloden has now announced a protest over the development.

Protestors will march on Saturday, December 9 from the entrance of Culloden Battlefield to Viewhill Farm at 10am.

A spokesman for the group said: “Building houses on that site is deeply disrespectful. It is part of a war grave.”

The current proposal is a revival of a similar plan rejected by Highland Council in 2014 and then approved on appeal by a Scottish Government planning reporter.

The plans were met with an international chorus of objection with writer Diana Gabaldon, creator of the Outlander story, among those criticising the proposals.

The protest group, set up in 2014, has now been reactivated in light of the fresh planning application.

Developers have been in discussion with Highland Council for several months in order to refine their proposals.

Councillor Ken Gowans (SNP), who represents Inverness South, added: “We need to protect that area for future generations.

“It was a pivotal battle in British history and is of huge international interest and it is incumbent on us to protect it.

“The battle actually covered a far greater area than that which the National Trust owns and runs.”

Earlier, Clea Warner, the National Trust for Scotland’s General Manager for North West Scotland, said the Scottish Government was wrong to have approved the original plans- and that more still needed to be done to protect such sites.

She said: “These pivotal places in Scotland’s story deserve better protection at the national level.”

Earlier this month, The 1745 Association said many of its members considered the development site as “sacred land” given the men on both sides who will have fallen there.

It has called for NTS to purchase as much of the conservation area as possible in order to protect it from development.

Kirkwood Homes earlier said the plans had been prepared in accordance with the conditions set out in the consent given in 2014.