CAMPAIGNERS have hailed Scottish ministers' "unprecedented" decision to stop a house being built on Culloden Battlefield.

The plans were rejected after ministers said the move would "suburbanise" the Jacobite site due to the “national historic significance” of the battlefield.

A dilapidated farm steading near the battlefield had been planned to become a family home – complete with zen garden and chillout zone – sparking a battle with conservationists who were furious about the proposals.

The site at Culchunaig, Scottish Highlands, lies near to a section of battlefield owned by National Trust for Scotland (NTS) and is within the battlefield boundary.

It was the scene of major fighting during the battle in April 1746 between the Jacobites and British forces.

But the bid was rejected by Scottish ministers who have now refused planning permission after disagreeing with a number of points made by the Planning Reporter.

Dr David Learmonth of the Group to Stop Development at Culloden (GSDC), which campaigned for the government to intervene, said it "warmly welcomed" the decision.

He said: “This is a momentous turnaround of events, and one that we sincerely hope marks a new dawn for the protection of the battlefield especially with still four live applications awaiting determination, including a holiday resort.”

Dr Learmonth thanked Professor Christopher Duffy and Andrew Grant McKenzie of the Historians’ Council on Culloden who researched the significance of the Culchunaig site.

Professor Duffy earlier described the development plans as an “appalling intrusion on this national war grave”.

Neither Historic Environment Scotland (HES) or NTS objected to the plans.

HES said that the new home would not significantly change the character of the battlefield while NTS said that the development of an existing rundown steading could be appropriate.

But Scottish ministers said that the development, which included three new outbuildings and space for six vehicles, represented an "overdevelopment of the site in what is a very sensitive part of Culloden Battlefield".

The decision letter stated: “Ministers consider the redevelopment of this site, as proposed, would have an unacceptable suburbanising effect upon the existing countryside near to the core of Culloden Battlefield.

"Ministers consider that the area has high sensitivity to all types of development due to the national historic significance and cultural associations of the battlefield.

"Ministers consider that the Proposed Development would result in cumulative negative visual and landscape impacts upon the local character of this part of the battlefield and would have an adverse effect on the character and appearance of the Culloden Muir Conservation Area."