Charity calls on ministers to ‘step in and save’ historic battlefield site

The National Trust for Scotland is urging the Scottish Government to block an application for a trotting track to be built on Bannockburn battlefield.

National Trust for Scotland calls on ministers to ‘step in and save’ historic Bannockburn battlefield site PA Media

The Scottish Government is being urged to “step in and save” a famous Scottish battlefield site by pulling a planning application.

The National Trust for Scotland has criticised plans to build on land at the historic Bannockburn battlefield, where Robert the Bruce famously defeated King Edward II’s English army in 1314.

Stirling Council is currently considering a proposal to develop a trotting track for harness racing on the site.

But the National Trust for Scotland said the development, if it gets given the green light, would be sited “in the vicinity of where Bruce’s army faced off against the vanguard of Edward’s army on the first day of the battle”.

Stuart Brooks, the charity’s director for conservation and policy, said it is “extremely disappointed Stirling Council planning department is considering the proposal” for the track on what is a “nationally designated” site.

He added: “We are calling for the Scottish Government to pull this planning application to ensure the future of this historic battlefield for the benefit of future generations.”

The National Trust for Scotland has managed the battlefield, which attracts thousands of visitors a year from across the country and overseas, since 1943.

It is concerned the planned track would be built on one of the last undeveloped areas of the designated battlefield.

It also fears the parking and noise from racing events at the track would disturb visitors at what it describes as a “place of pilgrimage for many”.

Brooks said: “Bannockburn is much more than just a battlefield. It is the location of one of the most pivotal moments in Scottish history when Robert the Bruce, King of Scots, defeated the English army led by King Edward II.

“The landscape surrounding the battlefield was instrumental in helping Robert’s men beat their English rivals and ensuring the nation’s future.

“Over previous decades much of the historic setting has been lost and we are deeply concerned about any new development that would encroach on this and further erode and degrade this iconic landscape.

“We are calling for the Scottish Government to step in and save Bannockburn battlefield from this proposal to ensure the longevity of a site steeped in Scottish history.”

A Stirling Council spokesperson said: “We have received representation from the National Trust for Scotland on the proposed new trotting track at Chartershall. The proposed development will be considered by our planning and regulation panel in due course.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Ministers have issued a notification direction for the trotting track.

“This means if Stirling Council is minded to grant permission, it will be notified to ministers who will decide whether or not to call in the application for their own determination.”

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