National Trust ‘unaware’ it needed planning permission for storage units

A retrospective application for five storage units at the Culloden Battlefield Visitor Centre has been submitted.

National Trust ‘unaware’ it needed planning permission for Culloden Battlefield Visitor Centre storage units iStock

National Trust for Scotland has submitted a retrospective planning application for five storage units at the Culloden Battlefield Visitor Centre.

The planning application said that previous staff were “unaware” that it needed permission to build the storage units at Culloden.

According to site drawings, National Trust for Scotland (NTS) has installed five steel storage units at the private service yard beside the centre.

The largest is 12 metres long in blue steel. NTS has added timber cladding to the front and sides to match the visitor centre.

There’s another large 9×3 metre unit and three more smaller containers.

NTS has hired David E Lindsay Architects as its agent, and has now sent detailed plans to Highland Council.

Raoul Curtis-Machin, Culloden operations manager, explained: “We got the shipping containers to go in the service yard a few years ago to meet the growing needs of the business and we didn’t realise at the time that we needed planning permission.”

However, Inverness councillor Ken Gowans expressed shock at the oversight.

“Given that every development in the proximity of Culloden Battlefield has been extremely contentious and high profile, I am bewildered how NTS could imagine they would not need planning permission to build on the battlefield itself,” said Mr Gowans.

Sensitive site

Culloden battlefield was the site of a bloody defeat for the Jacobite army against government troops in 1746. Historians consider it one of Britain’s most important battles.

As such, recent developments around the area have sparked controversy.

For example, a planned £1m holiday village on Culloden Moor sparked hundreds of complaints. Highland Council twice rejected the proposal, and the Scottish Government dismissed the appeal in December.

In 2019, Kirkwood Homes sparked fury when it installed a sales office for its Viewhill development without securing planning permission.

Mr Curtis-Machin said NTS will work with the council on this.

“We have tried to make them fit in sensitively with the existing visitor centre and the service yard by cladding them with the same local timber and painting them to fit in with the centre walls,” he said.

“They are in full use again as the tourists are returning to near pre-covid numbers, and we await the council’s decision.”

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