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Battle over naming of new streets near Culloden Battlefield

By Val Sweeney

Baratt housing Culloden
Baratt housing Culloden

ANOTHER Battle of Culloden has broken out after a controversial historical figure was suggested for a street name at a new housing development on the outskirts of Inverness.

A list of 12 street names to reflect the battlefield theme has been put forward for future use at the 400-house Barratt Homes development taking shape near Smithton.

It includes Cumberland Crescent – a reference to the notorious Duke of Cumberland, known in Scottish history as ‘The Butcher’, who oversaw the slaughter of Highlanders following the battle in 1746 in which 1500 Jacobites were killed.

Although the list is supported by Smithton and Culloden Community Council, Inverness area councillors have declined to endorse the name of Cumberland Crescent while accepting the 11 other suggestions including Clanranald Crescent, MacDonnell Road and Culchunaig Road.

But David McGrath, chairman of Smithton and Culloden Community Council, stands by the reference to the Duke of Cumberland.

“I don’t have the slighest problem,” he said.

“He won the game so he should get a mention.

“People might not like it up here – all the Tartan wallopers.”

Asked whether the name might cause offence, Mr McGrath replied: “In certain quarters it will but it all depends on how you read history books.”

He said his organisation had left it to Barratt Homes to come up with a list of names linked to the Battle of Culloden, requesting there be no duplication of other names within the area

During an Inverness Area Committee meeting, several councillors including Inverness Central SNP councillor Richard Laird voiced their opposition to Cumberland Crescent.

“I am not happy to name a street after the Duke of Cumberland,” said Cllr Laird who insisted he was not making a political point.

“I think it is distasteful. The rest of them are fine but I am not signing up to that.”

Inverness Ness-side SNP Councillor Ron MacWilliam said: “When it comes to naming streets and buildings, there is an element of honour.”

Concerns about the sense of urgency placed by developers on agreeing names were raised by Inverness South Independent councillor Duncan Macpherson.

“Some time should be taken to look at names,” he said.

Inverness Provost Helen Carmichael reminded councillors the time to debate names was in their communities.

“If community councils have agreed it, I think you have to accept what they have agreed, or you argue it at the time in the community,” said Provost Carmichael who said the name could be linked to Cumberland sausage.

Councillors agreed to refer the name back to the community council for further consideration.

David Palmer, managing director at Barratt North Scotland, said selecting street names was a collaborative process starting with a long list based around the local area and its heritage.

“We then present the list to the local community council so its members can apply their unique local knowledge and insight to select the most appropriate names,” said Mr Palmer, adding the company welcomed advice and feedback from the community.

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