Looking after our heritage: battlefields
Historic Scotland, on behalf of Scottish Ministers, has compiled an inventory of nationally important battlefields
and Culloden is included in this inventory. Its purpose is to provide information on the sites in it in order to raise awareness of their significance, and to assist in their protection and management for the future.
Scottish Government policy relating to battlefields means that inclusion of an area in the Inventory does not act as a barrier to development. Rather the purpose of the designation is to try to ensure that change happens in a way that takes the battlefield landscape and its constituent elements into account sympathetically and avoids unnecessary damage.
Our role in the planning process in relation to battlefields
While we do not decide on planning applications, whether relating to battlefields or not; we are a consultee where developments affect battlefields, as we were in an application concerning a proposed housing development at Viewhill, near Culloden. Our role as a consultee on any planning application is solely restricted to commenting on Historic Environment matters. ·We consider any application on its own merits and in accordance with Scottish Government policy.
Proposed housing development at Viewhill Farm, Culloden
The Viewhill development area lies just within the inventory area at Culloden, which is why we were consulted. We concluded that the proposal to build 16 houses on the site would not have a significant impact on the battlefield landscape or its archaeology.
Highland Council refused permission for the scheme, however the independent reporter who was appointed by Scottish Ministers to hear the appeal and appraise the application afresh overturned the decision.
The reasons for our conclusion were as follows:
- The proposed development sits on a brownfield site currently occupied by a grouping of large agricultural sheds. The scale of these sheds is such that their replacement with the proposed housing would, in our view, have an overall neutral impact on the battlefield landscape.
- The proposed development site is a considerable distance (about 800m) from the battlefield ‘core’. We did not consider that development there would impact on any key views, landscape features or specific known events relating to the battle.
- Any archaeological finds or deposits associated with the battle are likely to have been significantly disturbed or destroyed when the existing agricultural buildings were built. We were therefore satisfied that the conditions that the Highland Council Archaeology Service recommended would ensure that appropriate archaeological mitigation took place.