Protest gathers at Culloden over revived holiday park plan

Paul Jamieson and fellow members of the Group to Stop Development at Culloden gather this morning to protest against the latest development bid for the wider battlefield area. PIC: Contributed.
Paul Jamieson and fellow members of the Group to Stop Development at Culloden gather this morning to protest against the latest development bid for the wider battlefield area. PIC: Contributed.
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A small protest gathered today against plans to create a holiday park within the historic boundary of Culloden Battlefield.

Around 15 members of the Stop Culloden Development Group gathered at an open day to discuss proposals for 13 chalets and a 100-seater restaurant at Tree Tops Stables, Fraebuie.

An application for the development was rejected by Highland Council earlier this year given its impact on surrounding woodland.

READ MORE: Culloden: Rejected bid for holiday park revived once again
However, the owner plans to come back with a revised scheme and met members of the public today to discuss the proposals.

Paul Jamieson, of the Group to Stop Development at Culloden, said members handed out leaflets setting out their opposition to the development, which is based on the location of the site.

He said: "It is important for the group to show around the world that we are actively campaigning against these applications.

READ MORE: Luxury home plan for Culloden Battlefield approved by councillors
"We feel this is a bit of a test case for Highland Council as the site sits within the land they set aside as a conservation area.

"We hope they will stick to their guns and stand up for the area."

It is not clear at this stage how the fresh application differs in detail from the original proposal.

However, information presented today said "a certain scale of development can be sensitively inserted between the trees while still preserving the character of the woodland".

All trees on the site would be subjected to a 'proactive management regime' to protect and enhance the quality of the woodland, the information said.

Meanwhile, an existing timber stable block would be re-purposed and upgraded to form a shop, cafe and rental accommodation suitable for those with disabilities.

The main stable will be will be converted into a new licensed restaurant.

The site sits around one kilometre north of the section of the battlefield owned by National Trust for Scotland.

Only around one third of the historic battlefield area is owned by NTS, with the remaining two thirds in the hands of private hands.

The Treetops proposals follows the approval of a 16-home development at Viewhill Farm, where significant contact between forces was recorded during the battle between the Jacobites and British Army in April 1746.

Meanwhile, in September, councillors approved plans to create a luxury steading conversion on the south-west boundary of the NTS site at Culchunaig.

The Scottish Government is now considering whether to 'call in' that decision and determine the application itself.

Historians opposed to the development earlier criticised it as an "appalling intrusion of a national war grave" with the site likely to have seen significant action during the battle in April 1746.

Those resisting development in the wider Culloden area are concerned that recent planning decisions set a precedent with the historic site left without due protection.