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Protestors drop Culloden housing challenge

Words: Huw Morris
Culloden battlefield

Opposition retreat over heritage site housing plans

Campaigners against plans for a controversial housing scheme near to Culloden Battlefield have dropped a legal challenge.

The move comes as the National Trust for Scotland, which owns Culloden Battlefield, is holding talks with businessman David Sutherland, who owns the land at Viewhill Farm, Balloch, 400 metres away.

Highland Council rejected plans for a 16-home development, but this was overturned on appeal by a Scottish Government Reporter in January.

Stop the Development at Culloden said moves to challenge the proposal at the Court of Sessions have been abandoned after receiving legal advice that there were no grounds on which to appeal.

Calls for donors to fund estimated appeal costs of £50,000 have been retracted. National Trust for Scotland is exploring an option for buying the plot of land in question.

As a result of the row - and the worldwide furore it caused - the Scottish government has indicated that it may rule on any future applications in the vicinity of the historic site, which was the location for the last land battle fought on British soil, in 1746.

In a letter to Higland Council, ministers have specified that they be notified about two current applications close to Culloden Battledfied if the council is inclined to approve them – one is for two homes, the other for a single dwelling. If the council wants to approve any other residential development, it will be obliged to notify ministers.

"We value our historic battlefields, which tell the story of our nation’s past and continue to be a place of interest and importance for Scots and visitors alike," said Scottish planning minister Derek Mackay. “This is why we have taken the decision to issue notification directions to the Highland Council should they wish to approve the outstanding planning applications to build homes near Culloden Battlefield.

“This direction does not commit Scottish ministers to calling in any such application, but it does reserve their right to intervene.”