Fresh battle as Culloden house plan blocked by Scottish Government is revived

The contentious Culchunaig site sits just to the south of the permiter of the NTS-owned section of Culloden Battlefield (pictured). PIC: Julian Parren/geograph.orgThe contentious Culchunaig site sits just to the south of the permiter of the NTS-owned section of Culloden Battlefield (pictured). PIC: Julian Parren/
The contentious Culchunaig site sits just to the south of the permiter of the NTS-owned section of Culloden Battlefield (pictured). PIC: Julian Parren/
Campaigners fighting developments at Culloden face a fresh front after plans to build a house within the historic boundary of the battlefield were revived – just a week after Scottish Ministers took the unprecedented move of rejecting proposals for the site.

Owners of the steading at Culchunaig, which sits just south of the perimeter fence of the NTS-owned portion of the battlefield and where 'major action' on the Jacobite right wing unfolded during the battle in April 1746, have returned with a “scaled back” plan to develop the derelict building.

Their original proposals, which expanded the original steading with a contemporary design, was rejected by Scottish Ministers last month when they took the unusual decision to reject the Planning Reporter’s recommendation to approve the development.

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Campaigners hail ‘momentous turnaround’ as Culloden House rejected by Scottish M...

The rejected house would lead to a “surbanising effect” of the landscape with the site highly sensitive to development given the “national historic significance” of the battlefield, ministers found.

The applicants have now come back with a new application for a more traditional design for the site.

A statement from the architects said: “The revised and scaled down proposal now submitted has taken the comments and findings of the Scottish Ministers fully into consideration and has been guided by the concerns and issues raised.

“In particular Ministers considered that only the ‘sympathtic’conversion of the existing steading would be assessed as acceptable.

“In particular, the proposal is now governed solely by a strict conversion and refurbishment of the existing building.”

The new design offered a more “sympathetic” to the historical setting and location of the building, the statement added.

Contemporary elements have been removed with the new design keeping to the original spaces for doors and windows. Exisitng slates will be used for the roof, instead of metal cladding.

Plans for new outbuildings, including a garage and summerhouse, have been scrapped.

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Last month, the Group to Stop Development at Culloden hailed the “momentous turnaround of events” when Ministers rejected the design plan for Culchunaig.

Today, spokesman David Learmonth said the Government now had to step in and offer ‘meaningful’ longterm protection of Culloden.

He said: “It is appalling that Culloden battlefield is given no more regard under Scottish planning law than any other ordinary piece of land.

"Highland Council, Historic Environment Scotland and National Trust for Scotland have ignored the GSDC, and failed together with the Scottish Government to define any meaningful mechanism to preserve this special location for future generations."

He said the battlefield had been encroached on all sides by a number of proposed and approved developments.

“Every one of these developments is located on strategic locations of Culloden Battlefield and threaten to destroy the integrity and archaeological features and remains,” he said.

Meanwhile, Highland Council officials have recommended plans for a holiday park with 13 lodges and a restaurant at Faebuie, which sits within the Culloden Muir Conservation on Area and the historic battlefield boundary, are approved.

“It is time for the Scottish Government to take a definitive stance to recognise and implement measures to preserve the the cultural and national significance of this historical site,” Mr Learmonth said.

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