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Barn Church in Culloden secures planning permission from Highland Council over community garden

By Philip Murray

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Barn Church in Culloden. Picture: James Mackenzie.
Barn Church in Culloden. Picture: James Mackenzie.

A CHURCH'S community garden project has taken a big step forward after a planning application was approved by Highland Council.

The Barn Church at Culloden has secured permission to change the use of church ground to a community garden on land just south-west of the building.

The land, which is bordered to the west and north by mature trees and the Barn Church to the east, is currently used as general open space.

But under the plans, a 1.8 metre high mesh fence will be erected around the space and the land inside it set aside for community gardening work.

However, before the fence – which is being erected to provide some security to the produce inside – can be installed, the church will need to carry out a metal detector sweep of the land.

This condition was attached to the permission first owing to the church's location within the formal Inventory Battlefield of Culloden, and although the potential for artefacts from the infamous Jacobite battle to be found on the site are regarded as "low to moderate", the council's archaeologists insisted "as a minimum, [that] a metal-detecting survey" be carried out before any of the consented changes can begin.

Granting permission, council planners said: "The applicant has advised that the garden will be used by the church as a charity and will be used by the community to grow vegetables etc. It will be used for community functions and to educate on growing your own produce.

"The fence is for security requirements as there will be produce in the garden.

"The land is currently used for community purposes and will continue to be used for community purposes albeit in a more controlled way. The choice of fencing is considered acceptable, given the necessity to provide some level of security, and the choice of fencing provides the security while also allowing sight through the whole area."

Some conditions were attached to the permission. The first was that no work be carried out until after the archaeological survey is conducted. And a second was that shrub planting be carried out where the fencing will run along Barn Church Road in order to soften its appearance to passers-by.

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