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31 Jul 2018

Planning Bill changes are ‘point of no return’ for Scotland’s heritage

Culloden Battlefield
Culloden Battlefield
The Trust has called on the Scottish Government to save Scotland’s heritage by overhauling the planning system in forthcoming legislation.

Following the submission of four new development applications at Culloden and the approval of a golf course at the Coul Links, the National Trust for Scotland has called on the Scottish Government to save Scotland’s heritage by overhauling the planning system in forthcoming legislation.

The conservation charity said the plans could be disastrous for both locations. Culloden is the site of one of the most significant battles in Scotland’s history and is a designated Conservation Area, while Coul Links falls within the Loch Fleet Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and is home to rare coastal habitats.

The National Trust for Scotland questioned whether either designation would still have any meaning if they were going to be run roughshod over by the current planning process.

With the Planning (Scotland) Bill set to enter its second stage at the Scottish Parliament in September, the Trust said this was the ideal time to revise the current process and build a system that protects Scotland’s heritage for future generations.

Quote
“Culloden and the Coul Links are just two examples of a worrying trend: Scotland’s heritage is too often being cast aside for short-term economic gain. Four years ago, we argued for a planning framework which has the long-term wellbeing of our heritage sites built into it. That can only be achieved by overhauling the current diffuse focus on individual planning applications in isolation. ”
Simon Skinner, Chief Executive

Simon continues:

“Now is the time to make that change. The forthcoming Planning (Scotland) Bill is the point of no return for Scotland’s heritage: it could either prove to be the saviour of some of our most special places or the prelude to their irrecoverable loss. We only need to look to Bannockburn and Foveran Links as examples of development trumping reasonable conservation measures.

“Of course, property developers will always play the jobs and economic growth cards – but we need to think long-term. Scotland’s economy sees huge benefits from tourism, which accounts for around 5% of our GDP and can largely be attributed to our outstanding landscapes, sites of historic interest and places of beauty. We need to start reflecting that in the decisions we make with the land on which this country has been built.”

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