Controversial £1million plans for a four-star holiday village and 100-seat restaurant near Culloden Battlefield have been rejected by officials under delegated powers.
The decision delighted campaigners against developments close to the historic location, with Councillor Ken Gowans claiming it has “vindicated” the expansion of the conservation area.
The proposals would have involved converting a small riding centre into a leisure resort incorporating 13 lodges, a cafe, shop, laundry and restaurant.
The location was reputedly where the government troops “saddled up” before going into battle against the Jacobite Army supporting Bonnie Prince Charlie’s claim to the throne in 1746.
A Highland Council spokeswoman said: “A planning application for change of use from equestrian centre to holiday, leisure and hospitality facilities including 13 lodges, cafe/shop, reception, laundry and restaurant on land at TreeTop Stables, Faebuie Culloden Moor, has been refused under delegated powers.”
Council officers said it not been demonstrated the plan would “preserve, enhance or develop” the wooded site and cited both the Highland-wide development plan and the Culloden Muir Conservation Area.
The application had received 87 objections, including from historic societies and organisations.
Councillor Gowans said: “I am delighted by the refusal for the development. It vindicates our decision to increase the boundaries of the battlefield conservation area.
“The planners have, in this case, made the right decision.
“This will be welcomed not only locally and national, but internationally because of the enormous historical interest and significance Culloden Battlefield holds.
“There is a host of people and organisations who are determined to see this special area preserved for future generations.”
Site owners Inverness Paving had said previously that the development could create up to 25 jobs and would “considerably improve and enhance” the setting, stressing the site was completely invisible from the battlefield.
No one from the firm responded to calls for a comment regarding the decision to refuse the application.
Plans for the project had been submitted in March when, in the same month, councillors approved amended plans for the design and layout of 16 homes at Viewfield, half a mile from the battlefield.