Government throws out Culloden Moor holiday village appeal

Revised proposals for a holiday village near Culloden Moor in Inverness have been rejected by the Scottish Government.

Government throws out Culloden Moor holiday village appeal

Back in December 2020, members of the Highland Council’s south planning applications committee unanimously refused permission for a planning application from Inverness Paving Ltd regarding land at Treetop Stables in Faebuie.

Developers had hoped to convert an equestrian centre at the site into a leisure facility with 13 lodges, a cafe, shop and restaurant.

Members unanimously approved a motion by Cllr Ron MacWilliam seconded by Cllr Carolyn Caddick to refuse the application which was contrary to officers’ recommendations to grant planning permission.

An initial application was refused by the council under delegated powers on the grounds that it would not “preserve, enhance or develop” the wooded site, citing both the Highland-wide development plan and the Culloden Muir conservation area.

Following an appeal to the Scottish Government, a reporter appointed to assess the case had recommended giving the scheme approval, subject to conditions, but ministers have overruled his decision, saying the impact on the battlefield and surrounding protected woodland would be detrimental.

An appeal document for Inverness Paving Ltd said the project could boost the local economy annually and create jobs.

It said: “The proposal is to create a high-quality tourism leisure facility, forest lodges and hospitality, in one of Scotland’s premier visitor destinations. Inverness is undersubscribed in high-quality self-catering.

“The proposal would address an acknowledged market opportunity and contribute £1.47m and 62 jobs per annum to the regional economy.”

A letter rejecting the appeal said: “Ministers do not agree with the reporter’s view and conclusions that the proposal would not have a significant adverse impact on Culloden Inventory Battlefield or on the character or appearance of the Culloden Muir Conservation Area.

“Ministers consider that the loss of protected woodland, together with the impacts on the historic environment assets of Culloden Inventory Battlefield and the Culloden Muir Conservation Area mean the proposed development is contrary to the development plan overall.”

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