THE atmosphere of Culloden Battlefield risks being destroyed by "highly-cluttered views" of housing unless a stand is taken against planned development, a leading academic has warned.
Professor Christopher Duffy issued his stark warning, ahead of the annual anniversary memorial taking place today, claiming the battlefield could be "irreparably" harmed by plans for 16 homes at Viewhill Farm.
The professor, who taught military history at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, was due to give a talk at Culloden Battlefield visitor centre on Thursday as part of the wider commemoration events.
He said the precedent set by the development could "result in highly-cluttered views" that "destroy the atmosphere surrounding the battlefield".
"These new homes have established a precedent for further development at Culloden – it can now be opened up and exploited bit by bit, leading to its gradual degradation. If we’re not careful, we could end up with another instance of what the Americans call Central Park syndrome – a patch of green surrounded by intrusive development."
As well as his military teaching background Professor Duffy was also secretary-general of the British Commission for Military History and has written two books on the Jacobite rebellion.
The National Trust for Scotland owns the battle site. Diarmid Hearns its head of policy, said approval of the homes exposed major flaws in a broken planning system.
He said: "We strongly feel this is the wrong move for Culloden and we are deeply disappointed at the process’s failure to protect this important site."