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Fight to save Culloden battle site from housing plans is stepped up

Pressure is growing on ministers to intervene to stop a housing development near Culloden Battlefield, and protect the historic site in the future.

The remains of around 1300 men lie beneath Culloden Moor, and more nearby. They fell as the Jacobite rising came to a bloody end on April 16, 1746.

Two demonstrations are planned for next Saturday, one at the battlefield and the other in Inverness.

Members of the Group to Stop the Development at Culloden say an online petition has already raised more than 8000 signatures from all over the world in a very short time. The petition is to be presented to First Minister Alex Salmond, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, and the Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop.

A separate petition is being submitted to the Public Petitions Committee of the Scottish Parliament.

Last year, Highland Council refused Inverness Properties' plan for the development at Viewhill Farm about half a mile from the site of the last full-scale battle to take place on British soil.

After the developers appealed, a Scottish government-appointed reporter has indicated he thinks planning permission should be granted with conditions.

The National Trust for Scotland, which manages the battlefield and centre, objected to the plan. However, Inverness Properties insist that what they are proposing will enhance the surroundings of the battlefield, and say that heritage guardians Historic Scotland appreciated this when they opted not to object.

They also point to the fact that the land was zoned for housing under the Highland Council's council's five-year plan.

But a statement from the campaign group said: "Many supporters view this as a threat to their history and heritage. Supporters are meeting to show respect for their ancestors and to keep Culloden safe for the generations that come after them, so that they may learn from our past."

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