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War of words at Culloden continues


By Val Sweeney

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Developers and protesters have clashed over proposals for a holiday development at Culloden.
Developers and protesters have clashed over proposals for a holiday development at Culloden.

A bitter war of words is continuing over controversial plans for a holiday village at Culloden.

Inverness Paving wants to convert the former Treetops Stables at Faebuie, Culloden Moor, into a leisure destination comprising 13 new holiday lodges, an on-site café/retail facility and a new restaurant.

Previous plans were rejected by Highland Council officials last year because of the impact on the surrounding woodland and natural environment.

A resubmitted application has now attracted hundreds of objections including a response from the Group to Stop Development at Culloden (GSDC).

It claims research by a historian shows the proposed development is actually on Culloden battlefield rather than near it.

It maintains the battlefield site, owned by the National Trust for Scotland, represents less than a half of the battlefield.

It also takes issue with a submission by architects HRI Munro which says most objections are about the principle of development but that local development plans, national policy and the Culloden Moor conservation area all allow it, subject to location and composition, consideration of the impacts and satisfactory mitigation.

GSDC says the 348 public comments currently on file are not restricted to the principle of development but collectively contain a myriad of ‘material planning considerations’.

"Under Scottish planning law, it is not for the applicant and/or respective agent to unilaterally promote arguments, conclusions and/or evaluations tending towards eventual approval as a means to influence outcomes," it states.

It maintains any decision can only be made by Highland Council, by means of delegated or committee decision.

In the resubmitted application, architects HRI Munro reassess the proposed development’s impact and potential for mitigation, reconfigure the layout and positioning of the buildings, access and circulation, services and parking, and give details of woodland management.

In a recent submission, it concludes: "We therefore present a commendable, comprehensive and well-designed development proposal which is supported in principle by the relevant consultees, and for sound planning reasons, merits a positive recommendation in our view."

The submission also states that the applicant is committed to resolving issues which have been raised by the flood management team, transport planning and the forestry officer.

Related story: New bid for leisure resort



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