Outlander effect blamed for strength of feeling toward Culloden housing development

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The Outlander effect is being blamed for the strength of feeling generated by a housing development near Culloden Battlefield.

The Kirkwood Homes plan for 16 houses at Viewhill already has planning permission in principle, granted on appeal by the Scottish Government

The company’s detailed proposals for the development were approved at the council’s south planning committee meeting in March, but chaos ensued when two councillors said they made a mistake with their vote.

Leading academic slams controversial Culloden housing development

The vote will be taken again at Thursday’s Environment, Development and Infrastructure committee by a different set of councillors.

Despite a vigorous campaign against the development, Kirkwood’s land director Allan Rae says the proposals have been welcomed by neighbouring residents, with a number contacting the company to express their support.

He said: “We’ll be bringing fibre broadband to our development, benefiting a wider area.

“And instead of unsightly and highly visible ruined farm buildings, our homes will bring a much enhanced visual impact.”

Trish Robertson, vice-chair of EDI committee and a councillor for Culloden & Ardersier said the TV series Outlander was influencing opinions about the development as far afield as USA and Canada.

She said: “Outlander has been a great boost for the economy. It has made people far more aware of Culloden Moor and what’s around it, and stirred up a lot of emotion.

“But the fact remains that planning permission has been granted, the councillors will be voting on the design of the development.”

Culloden and Ardersier councillor Glynis Campbell-Sinclair said she personally approved of the development.

She said: “There’s been a bit of feverish objection to it, but it is a brownfield site and the fact remains planning permission has been granted.

“I have empathy with the complainers, but unfortunately a lot of people on the council have been getting flak, which isn’t fair.”

Heart must not be allowed to rule head in the vote, according to Inverness South councillor Ken Gowans. He said: “Any objections must be based on whether the planning conditions have been satisfied.”

How Thursday’s vote goes will be anybody’s guess, according to Inverness South councillor Andrew Jarvie, who says he has met no-one ‘remotely neutral’ about the proposals.