One of Scotland’s most important historic sites has become a battleground again – this time over plans to build new homes on it.
Culloden was where Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Jacobite rebels were defeated by the Duke of Cumberland in April, 1746.
More than 1500 soldiers from both sides still lie there and it is a designated war grave punctuated by memorial cairns to the fallen.
Now the site near Inverness is threatened by plans to build 16 luxury houses which were approved by the Scottish government despite fierce opposition.
Developer Kirkwood Homes have promised the battle site will not be disturbed and say the homes will be built on the edge of the former battlefield.
But local residents, historians and environmental campaigners say the plans should have been called in for further consideration before being passed.
They fear that the development will be the first and that the character of the site could soon be lost.
Although initial construction work has started, they have organised a demonstration against the new homes at Culloden Battlefield on October 13.
A petition raised on Change.org has already been signed by more than 100,000 people.
The petitioners claim that the site will “lose its ability to convey a sense of historical and cultural significance, as a memorial, in which to sit and contemplate.”
Many leading Scottish historians have also criticised the Scottish Government decision.
They include Professor Tom Devine, who said the decision was a “national disgrace.”
He added: “The Battle of Culloden spread into the surrounding fields as English dragoons chased the remnants of the Highland army and cut them down.
“Their bones are scattered all around the periphery, which makes this, too, part of the Culloden war grave.
“Scotland has a wretched record in preserving its sacred battle sites, but this would be the worst cut of all.”
The original planning application for the scheme was rejected by Highland Council, but this was overturned on appeal by a Government inspector.
Opponents of the scheme say that Scottish planning laws work to the advantage of developers, as only developers can appeal against decisions.
They are pushing MSPs to back a new planning bill that seeks to address this and allow affected communities a right of appeal.