Protesters opposed to 16 homes being built next to the historic Culloden Battlefield were “overwhelmed” yesterday after councillors deferred making a decision on the plans.
Members of the campaign organisation Stop Development at Culloden Group said afterwards that they will hold a protest this week at Holyrood in the hope that the Scottish Government might be able to intervene.
The original application – by Inverness Properties – for the housing development at Viewhill Farm was initially rejected by councillors, but the decision was overturned on appeal by a Scottish Government Reporter in 2014.
And a new application from Kirkwood Homes for the design and layout of the houses was heard during yesterday’s South Planning Applications Committee in Inverness.
But it was agreed the application would be deferred to give the developer a chance to revisit the house designs – specifically proportions of roofs to walls and external detailing – to better reflect the setting and the Culloden (Battlefield) Conservation Area.
Yesterday’s decision was greeted with applause from members of the 25-strong kilted campaign group. More than 72,000 people worldwide have signed a petition against the homes.
After the meeting the campaign group’s founder, George Kempik, said: “What we have to do now is change minds in Edinburgh. We need to make sure MSPs know what’s happened today. We don’t want any houses built there. People would be living on a site that could potentially be full of human remains. That’s not acceptable. The Scottish Government have the power to revoke their decision.”
Protestor Andrew McAlindon, who learned about the history of Culloden during his time as a supporting actor on the hit show Outlander, said: “I am just overwhelmed by the support of the councillors. The next step for us is going to protest in front of Holyrood at some point this week. We would love Nicola Sturgeon to get involved. They need to listen to us.”
Inverness Central councillor Richard Laird also raised concerns that no archaeological survey work has been done on site, but council official Ken McCorquodale said it was normal for this to happen as work on site progressed.
A spokeswoman for Kirkwood Homes said: “The decision by the South Planning Applications Committee to defer is extremely disappointing. However, we will discuss this outcome with the planning department to understand the specific reasons for this.
“The proposal fully complies with the conditions of the original planning consent. Throughout this process we have worked alongside Highland Council and relevant authorities, and will continue to do so until a conclusion is reached.”