Light pollution fears over Culloden housing plans

A marker at the Culloden battlefield site. Picture: TSPL
A marker at the Culloden battlefield site. Picture: TSPL
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ASTRONOMERS are the latest group to voice concerns over a controversial housing scheme near the historic battlefield at Culloden.

The Highland Astronomical Society fear light pollution will obstruct views from their observatory at the site.

Developers Inverness Properties have been granted permission to build 16 homes at Viewhill, about 400 metres from the battlefield.

The firm won an appeal to a Government-appointed planning official after overturning Highland Council’s rejection of the scheme last year.

The National Trust for Scotland, which manages the battlefield and visitor centre, oppose the project, claiming it could lead to further development.

HAS chairman Arthur Milnes said the £75,000 observatory, which is leased to the organisation by NTS, has good views of objects in deep space to the north west of the site.

He added: “It is desperately important for an observatory to have access to dark skies.

“Culloden Battlefield generally gives us good views. We are concerned any development will come along and introduce street lighting, house lighting and security lighting, which is very damaging.

“It will seriously reduce the ability of a telescope to see deep into the sky.”

The Scottish Government reported said that planning permission could be granted subject to an agreement being reached on a financial contribution from the developer towards affordable housing and footpaths.

A government spokesperson said: “Once this agreement has been reached, the reporter will issue his final decision on the appeal.

“The reporter has agreed with Historic Scotland that it is unlikely that the proposal would have any impact on the character and ambience of the battlefield.”

Inverness Properties said it was delighted to be given approval.


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