AUOB: Protest planned against Drummossie Muir ‘holiday village’ development

ALL Under One Banner (AUOB) will gather in protest at Highland Council plans to grant planning permission to a new development on the site of the Battle of Culloden.

Drummossie Muir, where the planning permission is sought, was reportedly the staging ground for government troops preparing for combat against Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Jacobite army.

Highland Council’s principal planner, John Kelly, has said that Inverness Paving plans for a four-star, £1 million holiday village with 13 lodges, a 100-seat restaurant, and a shop will be put to council members on November 3 “with a recommendation to grant planning permission”.

However, there have been strong objections to the move, with one local SNP councillor saying they were “disappointed and disheartened” that the plans would likely pass.

READ MORE: NTS to fight plans to build holiday lodges on Culloden Moor

Now, AUOB’s announcement looks to put further pressure on the council ahead of the November meeting.

The problem is that big business and developments are encroaching further and further onto key sites of Scottish heritage.

Speaking to The National, AUOB’s Neil Mackay said the plans were part of a wider problem affecting communities across Scotland.

Mackay said: “This development’s just the tip of the iceberg.

“Drummossie-Culloden is a key historical site of Scottish heritage. There’s the fact that obviously the famous battle was there, and a lot of people are very sensitive as there’s still a lot of graves there.

“But from an AUOB point of view, if you look at it nationally, this is just one example of a wider problem.

“The problem is that big business and developments are encroaching further and further onto key sites of Scottish heritage.

“This example is purely about Culloden, but to broaden it out you’ve got other battle sites, like the Battle of Killiecrankie [where road developments have threatened the historic site], and not just battle sites but in general.

“We’ve got to value our heritage and protect it. It’s cultural, it’s historic and it’s obvious these are also tourist and economic attractions for the country as well.”

Asked about the economic benefits of the holiday village planned for Drummossie Muir, Mackay said the development wouldn’t benefit the area in the same way.

He said: “That money, obviously there will be some jobs created, but pretty much all that profit is just going to go into the hands of a very small number of people.

“The local community are not going to see the benefit of that directly, or even indirectly.”

Mackay also said the plans were causing “unnecessary controversy” as there were many other areas in Scotland where the development could go ahead.

READ MORE: Battle begins … but the ’45 ends in tragic defeat

“There’s absolutely no need to build in such proximity to a site of significant interest and heritage,” he added.

AUOB stressed that the event planned for November 3 is not a rally, and they are not asking anybody to turn up.

Instead they will have “a presence” outside the Highland Council headquarters in Inverness to put pressure on the council not to move forward with the development.

If the plans do go ahead, the Scottish Government will have 28 days in which to “call them in” and overrule any council decision.

In that situation, AUOB said they will be forced to consider announcing further action.

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