Victory declared as Culloden holiday park plan is refused

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Victory has been declared by campaigners after plans to build a holiday park within the historic boundary of Culloden Battlefield were refused.

Plans were lodged to build 13 lodges, a cafe and shop, reception, laundry and 100-seat restaurant at TreeTop Stables, Faebuie, Culloden Moor.

Concerns have been growing around the protection of Culloden Battlefield with around two thirds of the historic landscape falling outside the area managed by National Trust for Scotland (above). PIC: Creative Commons/lynetter.

Concerns have been growing around the protection of Culloden Battlefield with around two thirds of the historic landscape falling outside the area managed by National Trust for Scotland (above). PIC: Creative Commons/lynetter.

The site sits around a mile north of visitor attraction managed by National Trust for Scotland but falls within the eastern edge of the greater battlefield and the Culloden Muir Conservation Area, which was drawn up in 2015 to protect the sensitive area.

More than 100 objections were lodged against the plans with a campaign against development in the historic landscape attracting support from around the world.

Highland Council planning officers have now refused the plans, primarily given the holiday park's impact on surrounding woodland and the natural environment.

READ MORE: Historian asks: "Are we in danger of losing Culloden?"
George Kempik, chair of the Group to Stop Development at Culloden, said the objections mounted by the campaign were the group's "first test" and thanked those involved.

In a statement, he said: "We got in on this from the very beginning and the groups admin and members did great work in helping achieve this victory.

"It pays to get in at the beginning of the planning process. Believe it or not, preservation of the battlefield won't be the most relevant reason for rejection of such planning applications."

The rejection of the Treetops applications comes amid debate over the future integrity of the battlefield, where Jacobites clashed with the British Army in 1746.

READ MORE: The Jacobites who fought on after Culloden
Around two third of the battlefield falls outwith the National Trust for Scotland site, making it vulnerable to the ambitions of private landowners.

A 16-home development at Viewhill Farm, where significant contact between forces was recorded in 1746, is nearing completion despite huge controversy surrounding the plans for the site, which falls within the Culloden Muir Conservation Area.

Councillor Andrew Jarvie for Inverness South and member of the South Planning Committee said the outcome of the holiday park application showed that the conservation area status did have some impact.

Councillor Jarvie said: "I did feel there was a bit of a blasé attitude to the Culloden Muir Conservation Area but this decision clearly shows it is a legal document and planning policy.

"What really worried me is that we had allowed two or three developments in the area to go through and opened carte blanche for further applications. Here, we can see that the floodgates have not been opened."

National Trust for Scotland is considering several options to safeguard the future of Culloden Battlefield, including an attempt to secure UNESCO World Heritage status for the site.

Meanwhile, the Historians Council on Culloden and the Scottish Battlefields Trust are proposing to launch a global fundraising campaign to buy up pieces of the greater battlefield that are owned privately in a bid to protect them from developers.

Louise Macdonald, owner of the Treetops site, has been contacted for a comment.