Final permission has been given for a controversial housing development near the historic Culloden Battlefield, despite the new owner of the land casting doubt that it will go ahead as originally planned.

Campaigners say it is important to challenge the decision to prevent a precedent being set for such sites of importance and they plan to protest at the Scottish Parliament today.

Last year Highland Council refused Inverness Properties' plan to build 16 homes within half a mile of the battlefield at Viewhill Farm. But the developers appealed.

Loading article content

In January a Scottish government-appointed reporter indicated he thought planning permission should be granted with conditions.

"Approval was confirmed, however any party affected by the decision has six weeks to exercise a right of appeal to the Court of Session," a Scottish Government spokesman said. Highland Council has negotiated a settlement to pay some of the developers' £18,000 legal costs. .

Last month David Sutherland, the former executive chairman of Tulloch Homes, bought the land. He has farming interests in the area. He has said that the houses that will now be built will not be seen from the battlefield. A spokeswoman for the National Trust for Scotland, responsible for Culloden, said of this week's decision: "Clearly, the Trust is disappointed with this outcome."