Culloden Battlefield is Threatened "The site has national and international importance, not only Scottish. It is one of the few places that openly speaks about the horrifying effects of the Highland Clearances that affect Scottish culture to this very day."
Map credit below, David Learmonth and Alan Brown Admins Note: to read articles below, click on date/headline live link
Development encroachment on the Battlefield. Note that the NTS Culloden Battlefield area is much smaller than the area of the actual battle.
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July 27, 2022. . . Historic Environment Scotland Discovery sheds new light on the Battle of Culloden. New research has been published which revises the position of the Jacobite left flank during the battle. Historic Environment Scotland (HES) has uncovered new evidence for the location of Culloden Parks, the designed landscape around Culloden House, which was an important element of the battlefield landscape of Culloden in 1746 thought to have been lost. Culloden House played a key role in the conflict as a headquarters for Bonnie Prince Charlie and his Jacobite commanders in the days leading up to the battle.
April 10, 2022 . . . GSDC Update As the 276th Commemoration of the Battle of Culloden approaches, GSDC Admin feel compelled to give an update on the state of developments on the Battlefield. Please refer to the GSDC map (top of page), where only two developments have been refused (4, Treetops holiday park and 7, house at Tannach Farm).
The other sites numbered 1, 2 3, 5, 6 have already been built on and Scottish Ministers have given permission for 8, namely conversion of a steading to a family home at Culchunaig, a pivotal site to the south.
In meantime, an application to build a new house and access road on a greenfield site (previously undeveloped land) is due for determination soon. It is marked number 9 and is located near the Culloden Parks enclosure where the left of the Jacobite front line was stationed, where the last-firing Jacobite cannon was silenced and according to Prof. Christopher Duffy’s map, where the Irish Piquets put up their brave rearguard action.
This is an acutely sensitive location on the battlefield. Recent, but as yet unpublished research by Historic Environment Scotland (HES) tends to indicate that the southern edge of the enclosures was closer to the modern B9006 road. HES also indicate that human remains from the battle may lie underneath this farmland. This application, more than any previous, could be a game-changer for developers if approved, opening up the often-cited thin edge of the wedge.
Unbelievably, with the exception of GSDC and the NTS, only the access road from the B9006 to the new house seems to be an issue for planners and HES, which if approved, will cut off a very significant part of sensitive battlefield land outside the NTS property.
Maybe the Scottish Government will step in as they have ‘notified’ this application but one only has to remember their decision last year at Culchunaig.
Culloden deserves much better protection and GSDC will continue to fight for such.
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March 22, 2022 . . . National Trust for Scotland Stronger planning regime still needed Our review of Scottish Government proposals for the Scottish planning system finds that there is more work still to be done to give the nation’s historic and scenic landscapes proper protections. Head of Public Policy for the National Trust for Scotland, Diarmid Hearns said: ‘Scotland is globally renowned for the beauty of our landscapes and our iconic buildings. It is our natural and cultural assets that help make Scotland, and it is our planning system that will determine whether we develop these in a positive or negative way. ‘The new National Planning Framework is our opportunity to ensure that the places that matter to us and make Scotland what it is are protected now and for future generations. ‘Overall, we find that Scotland is currently behind England when it comes to protections for our natural and cultural assets, on a level with Wales, and ahead of Northern Ireland. ‘This can be remedied with a few small changes and we hope the Scottish Government will be guided by our concerns and strengthen the framework for the benefit of everyone who loves our landscapes and historic places.
Proposals for the £1 million Treetops leisure complex – encompassing holiday lodges and associated infrastructure – were rejected by ministers who branded it “unacceptable”, arguing it would detract from the battlefield’s “sense of identity.”
In doing so they went against the views of their own reporter who had recommended the appeal – mounted by developers Inverness Paving after the original application was rejected by Highland Council – should be allowed.
A separate appeal for a steading conversion at Culchunaig was, however, accepted by ministers.
SCOTLAND’s battlefields are under threat from developers seeking planning permission to build on them, it has been claimed. The Scottish Battlefields Trust has called its supporters to arms in a bid to protect the historic sites. The 7th Scottish Battlefields Symposium follows the rejection in September of a petition to the Scottish Parliament calling for greater protection for Scotland’s battlefield sites from planning applications. Major housing developments have already been approved on sites such as Culloden and Prestonpans, and the trust said there has been destruction of a significant part of the site of the Battle of Killiecrankie. It works to develop interpretation and engagement with battlefields from their local communities to ensure long term protection and recognition. More than 40 sites are listed on the Inventory of Historic Battlefields, maintained by Historic Environment Scotland, although the trust said there are many others in Scotland.
MSP's have rejected calls for more legal protection for Culloden and Scotland's other historic battlefields, A petition proposing tighter restrictions for people wanting to build on the sites was closed by a Holyrood committee today. Campaigners wanted Scottish Government to pass legislation to protect the battlefield at Culloden and other important conflict grounds from developers.
April 27, 2021 . . .National Geographic The legacy of Culloden, the last pitched battle on British soil 275 years ago Jacobite forces fought the British Army on a remote moorland in Scotland in a clash that might have changed the course of history. Had victory fallen differently, there would arguably have been no American Revolution.
“The moor was covered with blood; and our men, what with killing the enemy, dabbling their feet in blood, and splashing it about one another, looked like butchers.”
April 18, 2021 . . . The Herald THE BIG READ: Fielding off developers - why the fight to save Scotland’s battlefields has only just begun . . . Raoul Curtis-Machen, the trust’s operations manager at Culloden, is pretty clear about what the problem is. “The existing planning mechanisms are too weak,” he says. “We averaged more than 300,000 visitors a year pre-covid, and we work hard to keep the battlefield open and accessible 24/7. Yet we’re frequently surrounded by planning applications for developments, and we struggle to defend against them all.
“Once development takes place on or right beside the battlefield, the fragile but powerful sense of place is shattered. Surely there is a strong case for stronger legal protection for sites like this?” The people who live and work near the site, as well as the wider Scottish diaspora who feel a strong connection to Culloden, feel pretty much the same way. Carolyn Seggie, who belongs to GSDC (Group To Stop Development At Culloden) says there’s a misconception that battlefields already have protection from development.
The 1745 Association: Conserving Culloden Battlefield In the 2021 National Trust for Scotland-1745 Association Annual Culloden Lecture on 'Tourism, Research and Conservation at Culloden Battlefield, 1746-2021', Andrew Grant McKenzie describes the multiple threats to the battlefield posed by commercial development proposals, and expresses the hope that a land purchase programme by the National Trust for Scotland to assemble the entire battlefield under single ownership may preserve it for future generations.
The alternative 'business as usual' scenario poses the very real risk that there will be no Annual Culloden Commemoration in a hundred years' time, for the simple reason that there will be no Culloden Battlefield to commemorate, only a series of Viewhill Farm / Treetops - type developments where the battlefield used to be. Andrew worked with the NTS at the Culloden Battlefield between 2008 and 2018, latterly as its Property Manager, and draws extensively on his first-hand experience there to assess the current position and future prospects for the conservation of the battlefield.
From the GSDC: Meaningful Protection for Scottish Battlefields Note: Our petition is now closed This is a petition to the Scottish Government It is open to anyone from across the world. Sign this even if you have signed other petitions. Share, share, share too. Especially on the back of today's refusal of planning permission at Culchunaig, by Highland council. Why? Because it's quite likely they will apply again. The GSDC started a Change.org online petition to try to gauge support, asking the Scottish Government to change planning law, with a view to properly protect areas like Culloden Battlefield, which are indisputably recognised as areas of national importance. The next stage for us having gauged that support was to implement a stronger, more official petition to the Scottish Parliament direct. That Petition was submitted and has been accepted. It is very important that it gets 1000's of signatures. This petition closes on the 17th of March, let's hope with the boost we have all just received from Highland Council, the Scottish Government will understand the strength and depth of feeling regarding the level of protection currently assigned to these areas of national importance. This petition will also will send a message to the appointed government agency, HISTORIC ENVIRONMENT SCOTLAND, that they are neglecting their responsibilities. Visit the web site, read the details of the petition in the links, SIGN IT, leaving your full details and please leave a clear and polite comment regards your feelings about the level of protection needed to stop these money grabbing profiteering developers form obliterating these areas of national importance.
December 13 . . . Press and Journal Petition calls for Scottish Government bill to protect Culloden Battlefield from developers A petition has been launched demanding the Scottish Government passes a Bill to protect Culloden battlefield and other historic conflict sites from developers. The move comes just days after Highland Council unanimously refused a renewed proposal to transform part of the Culloden battlefield into a holiday complex with more than a dozen lodges, a cafe, shop and restaurant. Culloden is sacred to many people as the place where, on 16 April 1746, the Jacobite rising led by Prince Charles Edward Stuart was crushed by Government troops in the last pitched battle fought on British soil. Despite its inclusion in Historic Environment Scotland’s (HES) Inventory of Scottish Battlefields, the landscape has been the subject of a series of new and repeated planning applications, including one development now described as a “blot” on the historic landscape.
Highland Council Final Planning Decision on Treetops This application is refused for the following reasons: The proposed development would promote unnecessary and unacceptable commercial activity within the boundary of the Inventory Battlefield of Culloden. click on headline for full document
December 8, 2020 Highland Councillors unanimously refuse Culloden Moor planning application Members of The Highland Council’s South Planning Applications Committee have unanimously refused permission for a planning application from Inverness Paving Ltd regarding land at Treetop Stables, Faebuie, Culloden Moor, Inverness. Councillors have refused the application for change of use from an equestrian centre to holiday, leisure and hospitality facilities including 13 lodges, cafe/shop, reception, laundry and restaurant. Members unanimously approved a motion by Cllr Ron MacWilliam seconded by Cllr Carolyn Caddick to refuse the application which was contrary to officers’ recommendations to grant planning permission. The planning application can be viewed on the Council’s eplanning site https://wam.highland.gov.uk/wam/ (external link) at the following reference 20/01728/FUL.
National Trust welcomes Highland Council decision on Culloden planning application The National Trust for Scotland, which cares for and protects the ‘core’ segment of the Culloden battlefield has welcomed last night’s unanimous decision by Highland Councillors to reject a bid to convert Treetop Equestrian Centre into a holiday complex. This was the second attempt by the applicant to gain permission for the scheme, which was previously rejected by councillors in May 2019.
November 17, 2020 GSDC takes note of and warmly welcomes the unprecedented decision taken today by Scottish Ministers to refuse planning permission for the house at Culchunaig (18/04194/FUL). It is marked number 8 on the GSDC map and is located on a hugely sensitive site within Culloden Battlefield.
A previous application was approved by Highland Council and HC was minded to grant the second application. The GSDC worked hard to get the second application called-in by the Scottish Government, which happened.
An appointed Reporter then recommended that planning permission be granted. This was overturned and the Scottish Ministers’ decision to refuse is final. A momentous turnaround of events, and one that we sincerely hope marks a new dawn for the protection of the Battlefield especially with still four live applications awaiting determination, including a holiday resort.
November 18, 2020 . . . The National Campaigners hail 'unprecedented' decision to stop Culloden Battlefield house plans CAMPAIGNERS have hailed Scottish ministers' "unprecedented" decision to stop a house being built on Culloden Battlefield. The plans were rejected after ministers said the move would "suburbanise" the Jacobite site due to the “national historic significance” of the battlefield. A dilapidated farm steading near the battlefield had been planned to become a family home – complete with zen garden and chillout zone – sparking a battle with conservationists who were furious about the proposals. The site at Culchunaig, Scottish Highlands, lies near to a section of battlefield owned by National Trust for Scotland (NTS) and is within the battlefield boundary. It was the scene of major fighting during the battle in April 1746 between the Jacobites and British forces.
National Trust for Scotland: Public plead to protect Culloden The unique atmosphere, importance as a place of history and remembrance, and the open aspects of Culloden Battlefield must be protected, according to the public.
We are revealing the findings of our Culloden 300 Report, the 275th anniversary of Charles Edward Stuart’s arrival in Scotland which ignited the 1745 Jacobite rising.
Last year, around 3,000 people took part online and in person in the consultation which aimed to establish how people wanted the site of Britain’s last pitched battle to look in 2046, 300 years on from the event that marked the conclusion of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s attempt on the British throne.
This is what 72,000 signatures on our petition looks like!
This petition is addressed to David Fraser Sutherland, Kirkwood Homes Ltd. and Historic Environment Scotland
The Admin and members of GSDC, and all who sign this petition are very concerned that this land will disappear under houses and pavements; thus creating an irreparable scar on Culloden Moor and ultimately will generate disrespect towards those who died and lie buried under its unforgiving moorland. The building of 16 luxury houses at Viewhill farm would convert the existing agricultural land use to suburban, subdivided parcels. Probable widening and extensions of roads accessing this property do not comply with the Culloden Muir Conservation Area. If allowed, this development will affect the area in a dramatic, negative way. Increased traffic, street lighting, issues with drainage and unsightly rooflines, and increased residential noise will greatly affect the Battlefield experience. The area will lose its ability to convey a sense of historical and cultural significance, as a memorial, in which to sit and contemplate, as a place of connection for millions of people around the world.
Map created by Historic Scotland to indicate the area of historical importance at Culloden Battlefield. Note that Viewhill Farm is in black and in the protected area!
Map of the 2015 Culloden Muir Protection Area indicating that the battle took place over a much wider area. Note that Viewhill Farm is in this protected area!
WHAT IS THIS ALL ABOUT. . .
In 2011, an Inverness property developer presented plans to Highland Council for a 16 unit housing development at Viewhill, just 400+ metres from Culloden Battlefield.
The proposed development was rejected by Highland Council. The Developer appealed. The matter was then decided by a Government Appointed Reporter who ruled in favour of the Developer.
This Group was formed to protest the plans to build the 16 houses. We gathered information, data, maps and legislative references which left no doubt as to the historical significance of the battlefield and the area beyond and, its importance on a National and International level.
The new designated Protection Area of 2015 enlarged the protected zone but does not include Viewhill as permission to build was granted in 2014.
Building houses on that site is deeply disrespectful. It is part of a war grave.
The building of 16 houses at Viewhill converts the existing agricultural land use to suburban, subdivided parcels. Possible widening and extensions of roads accessing this property do not comply with the Culloden Muir Conservation Area and if allowed will further damage the area. This is not an appropriate use for this land.
We need to protect that area for future generations. It was a pivotal battle in British history and is of huge international interest and it is incumbent on us to protect it. “The battle actually covered a far greater area than that which the National Trust owns and runs.” HC Ken Gowans
"Culloden is an incredibly sensitive site. The site is very important to a lot of people...it's almost a place of pilgrimage. There's a particular aspect to that landscape that you could quite easily destroy by building something that was unsuitable for that environment.” Tony Pollard
…………………………………………..the fight is NOT over!
See what Culloden Battlefield might look like if development is allowed to take place! A video by a member of the Scottish Diaspora now living in Australia.
A video by GSDC member Paul Jamieson on the 270th anniversary of the Battle of Culloden. The video starts around 6am on the commemoration Saturday after he spent the night walking the Battlefield. It snowed and rained most of the evening and was still overcast. The march and service at the central Cairn and afterwards the patriots departed but some stayed on meeting and greeting old and new friends...
Culloden Lament... 5th October 2016 by Charlie McAulay Robertson
Two years and more have past since the news was broken. Houses to be built on Culloden moor and then the world it was outspoken. Yes, people from around the globe just could not understand. What does posses those corporate minds, that they would desecrate our sacred land. New laws were passed by government that would give it more protection. Which meant to us that there would be consultation before any house erection. But those unscrupulous business men with there eyes set on the brass. Find loopholes in everything, even the laws that the government pass. So here we are today and the problems are still looming. And believe me when I say, Scotland it should be fuming. They want to wipe away our history, while all we can do is lament. As they cover it up with houses aye, tar macadam, bricks an cement.
Listen to Ted Christopher sing "Freedom's Flame" written by Ted for the Culloden Commemoration
Blàr Chùil Lodair, 16 an Giblean 2016. Tha na faireachdainnean agam an-diugh a’ sìneadh eadar irioslachd agus pròis, irioslachd a thaobh an urraim a thug sibh dhomh cuimhne a ghleidheadh air na Gàidheil cliùiteach a thuit ann an Cogadh nan Seumasach, agus pròis a thaobh an dleastanais a bhuilich sibh orm a bhith a’ riochdachadh Comunn Gàidhlig Inbhir-Nis aig Seirbhis Cuimhneachaidh Blàr Chùil Lodair. Le carragh-cuimhne air ar beulaibh agus raon uaigneach tiamhaidh fo ar comhair, tha sinn uile mothachail air an tuiteamas seo a tha a’ sìoladh sìos thugainn thar nan linntean bhon dearbh latha sa’ Ghiblean 1746. Gu deimhinnte ’s e droch latha a bh’ ann, airson Gàidheal air gach taobh dhen t-strì agus mar sin, tha cothrom againn a-rithist an-diugh cuimhne ùrachadh air na daoine foghainteach a chaill am beatha aig Cùil Lodair agus an comharrachadh as ùr.
Gaelic Society Chief, Prof Hugh Cheape, addresses the gathering at the 2016 Memorial Service and Mgr. Maoilios Caimbeul reads ‘Latha Chùil-Lodair’ / ‘Culloden Day’ by Iain Ruadh Stiùbhart.
'Presenting' or 'lining' is very much part of Gaelic Culture. The presenter sings the line, the congregation sings the line after him. Here is a video of the remembrance service at Culloden.
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