U-turn over plans to build house on Culloden battlefield

The Scottish Government have now blocked plans for the luxury steading.

U-turn over plans to build house on Culloden battlefield Google Maps
Culloden: U-turn over house on historic battlefield.

Plans to build a house within the boundary of Culloden battlefield have been blocked after claims the family home would compromise the historical character of the site.

Plans were lodged to turn the dilapidated building at Culchunaig, Highlands, into a family home with a zen garden and hot tub.

But the Scottish Government blocked plans for the luxury steading conversion on the site, given the “urbanising effect” it would have on the historic Culloden area.

The site sits near to a portion of battlefield – where the final encounter was staged between the Jacobites and British Army in 1746 – owned by the National Trust of Scotland (NTS).

NTS did not oppose the luxury steading plans originally, but has now lodged an objection to a scaled down proposal for the site.

Bosses said they “now realised” the high importance of the Culchunaig site given new ongoing research.

Campaigners welcomed the U-turn, describing the news as “wonderful”.

In an official objection Clea Warner, Highlands and Islands general manager for NTS, said: “We wish to object to the revised application, mainly on the grounds that this represents a threat to the historic character of Culloden Battlefield, in light of new and ongoing historic and archaeological research.

“In our previous response, we did not object because we misunderstood the full implications this application, and the impacts it could have on what we now realise is a very important part of the Battle of Culloden.

“All historians and archaeologists involved in researching the battle agree that this is land which was fought over during the battle, and as such there is much more for us to learn about this area, and the responsibility to protect it, as set out in our national policy.”

Ms Warner said research suggested the area played host to one of two pivotal ‘pincer’ movements which could have played a decisive role in the outcome of the battle.

Data from a laser scan, which was commissioned by a former general manager at the NTS centre and battlefield, is now being examined in a bid to strengthen the historical evidence relating to Culchunaig.

If ongoing research into the site confirmed the area’s ‘vital role’ in the battle, NTS would like to open up the site to visitors.

This would not be possible if the area was significantly developed, Ms Warner added.

Ms Warner added: “In conclusion, Culloden Battlefield is of enduring national significance.

“We consider that the proposed development should not be allowed because it could compromise the cultural and historical character of this part of the site before we understand its full significance.”

Andrew McKenzie, a former general manager at Culloden Battlefield and Visitor Centre said the analysis of the laser scan which he earlier commissioned, was ‘remarkably significant’.

He said: “It is wonderful to see the recognition of the significance of the damage that would be caused by allowing a development at Culchunaig on Culloden Battlefield, which has been recognised by the National Trust for Scotland.

“Their objection to the re-application after the original was rejected by Scottish Government ministers is incredibly significant in the process of protecting Culloden Battlefield’s wider boundary.”