Housebuilders defeated in historic battle site bid

Cala_GroupDevelopers have been forced to concede defeat over a controversial application to build luxury houses on a site linked to the 17th century Battle of Bothwell Bridge, according to The Scotsman.

Housebuilders Cala Homes had applied to build detached homes on the historic plot but had campaigners said the site in Bothwell, Lanarkshire, was of national importance.

Cala had wanted to develop on the three acre Covenanters’ Field where the Covenanters are said to have gathered before the 1679 battle with Government troops.

They had asked for permission to create 15 exclusive homes worth around £395,000 to £995,000.

But it has now emerged the plans have been shelved after talks between Cala and Historic Scotland failed to reach agreement.

Acclaimed historian Professor Tom Devine said it was the last undeveloped section of the battle site.

He said: “Agreeing to build over the untouched part of this historic battlefield would be an act of desecration to the memory of those who died in defence of their religious beliefs.”

Bothwell Historical Society were also opposed to the plans with spokesman Eric Denton saying: “Given hundreds of soldiers died in the battle, it is possible bodies are buried at the site. It is totally unsuitable for housing.”

Previous attempts to develop the site had also failed but the current application had been supported by the Scottish Covenanters Memorials Association after Cala had promised to create a Heritage Park to commemorate the battle.

But Brighter Bothwell chairman Dennis Walker said: “We are very pleased Cala has withdrawn this and hope the site will be preserved for generations to come.”

South Lanarkshire Council’s head of planning and building standards Michael McGlynn said: “There are continuing issues with the proposal, in particular an objection from Historic Scotland.

“With this in mind, it was suggested to Cala Homes that they consider withdrawing the application.”

A spokesman for Cala Homes said: “We intend to withdraw the application.”

The battle of Bothwell Bridge was a major defeat for the Covenanter army against the Government troops lead by the Duke of Monmouth.

The Covenanter army was led by Sir Robert Hamilton and gathered on the south bank of the River Clyde.

The Duke of Monmouth headed a force of around of 5,000 troops and initially tried to negotiate a peaceful settlement but this was rejected.

Around 300 Covenanters with a single cannon held the bridge against them until a charge by mounted infantry saw the Government forces take the position.

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