Villagers hoping battlefield site win ends argument

Brighter Bothwell's Dennis Walker, far right, wants Covenanters' Field to be retained.
Brighter Bothwell's Dennis Walker, far right, wants Covenanters' Field to be retained.

Campaigners seeking to save Bothwell’s green spaces claim it could be more difficult than ever for developers to get their hands on a prime site.

Cala Homes admitted in November it has abandoned plans for 15 detached homes on the three-acre Covenanters’ Field, off Hamilton Road.

It had failed to persuade Historic Scotland to withdraw its opposition to the controversial proposal to build on an area where Covenanter soldiers are said to have mustered before the Battle of Bothwell Bridge in 1679.

Following that Brighter Bothwell wrote to South Lanarkshire Council, calling on the authority to amend its forthcoming local plan ‘to ensure the battlefield is protected for future generations’.

Chairman Dennis Walker said the site was originally designated for housing but this appears to have changed to ‘urban land’ and it now has protection under ‘battlefield policy’.

He said: “I think these amendments have come about because of the huge number of objections from people including historians.”

However, Laura Gaddis, of he council’s planning department, said the current local development plan does not identify the location as a proposed housing site and ‘there is no scope for the council to change its designation as general urban land’.

She added: “The site is protected under the battlefields policy and any future proposals would have to be considered against the requirements of that policy.”

Michael McGlynn, the council’s head of planning and building standards, said: “The status of Covenanters’ Field in the draft local development plan is the same as in the current plan.

“It sits within the built up area which means the principle of housing is acceptable subject to detailed consideration. The site has never been specifically zoned for housing.”

Mr Walker said Brighter Bothwell is ‘pleased but we remain ever vigilant’