Builders and residents at war over homes

A RENEWED Battle of Bothwell Bridge continues 300 years after the first, with developers and local residents at loggerheads this year over a planned housing development on the "Covenanters Field".

Key areas of the battlefield, on both banks of the Clyde near Motherwell and Hamilton, have already been developed. But the field, remembered as a gathering place for the Covenanters and the site of commemorations for the dead and captured Presbyterians well into the 20th century, survived.

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This summer Cala Homes sought permission to build 12 luxury homes there and relocate the existing Battle of Bothwell Bridge Memorial, placed near the bridge in 1903.

A dozen local residents and the Bothwell Community Council actively opposed the scheme. The planning application lapsed in June, but Cala indicated at the time it may appeal. In 2006 Covenanters' Field was zoned for local housing. A metal detector survey at the time found musket balls that may have been fired at government troops, but it is thought the ground may contain more relics of the battle.

The present Bothwell Bridge dates from the 19th century, but is on the footprint of the original bridge, it is thought. Conservationists hope that the inclusion of the battlefield on the inventory means it will be protected as a historic site.