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A controversial plan to quarry parts of a hill that featured at the Battle of Bannockburn has been thrown out. (Acknowledgement: For Full Story see STV News)
Much of Gillies Hill at Cambusbarron, near Stirling - which played a decisive role in the 1314 battle - had already been carried away for roadstone.
Quarrying ceased 20 years ago but Patersons Quarries Ltd, of Coatbridge, wanted to restart its operations there.
Planning permission valid until 2042 already applied but Patersons wanted to include an area outside existing workings.
Its application attracted 1077 objections, including from Torbrex, Kings Park and Cambusbarron community councils, the Stirling Civic Trust, Stirling High School Parent Council and other local and national organisations.
After Patersons appealed to the Scottish Government over the delay in reaching a decision, the application was called in and referred to a government reporter.
Reporter Richard Dent chaired a two-day public inquiry into the plans in Cambusbarron in November.
On Friday, Mr Dent issued his determination.
He said he had taken into account the "economic benefits" offered by the proposal but believed these to be outweighed by its adverse impacts.
He ruled the Patersons Quarries proposal was contrary to planning policy and there was "serious doubt" whether local roads could accommodate the increase in heavy traffic the quarrying would generate.
He concluded: "I dismiss the appeal and refuse planning permission."
Mr Dent said the historic nature of the site had not swayed his final decision.
He stated: "In respect of the Battle of Bannockburn there is considerable doubt about the role of Gillies Hill. However, even if the hill played a more central role... I do not consider that the development would have a significant impact on the understanding and interpretation of the battle."
The decision was greeted with delight by protesters.
One local resident said: "It's superb news, whatever way you look at it."
Protesters including a Save The Gillies Hill group and others fought a long campaign against the proposals.
A "Save Gillies Hill" march in Cambusbarron last summer, on Sunday June 25, the closest Sunday to the 702nd anniversary of the famous battle, attracted a strong turnout.
And a petition against the plans gained more than 1250 signatures in under a week.
Save Gillies Hill group secretary Marion MacAllister said: "Gillies Hill is important not only for historic and recreational reasons but also for the fact that this land is important to the people of Stirling and beyond.
"It is loved for the quiet, the green, the peace, the age of the woods, for the fact that it is so close and that families have walked there for generations."
The developers had said that the scheme would have created six jobs plus work for hauliers, fitters and electricians and facilitated the exploitation of good quality aggregate for the construction industry.
The Descent of the Gillies on to the field of Bannockburn is seen as a turning point in the 1314 battle, in which Robert the Bruce defeated the English King Edward II.
According to legend, as the tide of battle swung in the Bruce's favour, the "Sma' Folk", or "gillies" - servants, cart drivers and camp followers who had been concealed behind the hill - swarmed down to finish the fight.
The English, thinking the rabble to be another regiment of Scots infantry, were further demoralised and fled in panic.
We are trying to save the beautiful, popular and historic Gillies Hill in Cambusbarron, Stirlingshire, Scotland from being destroyed by the reactivation of quarrying. (For Latest News - Click Here)
|Save Gillies Hill
- has helped
preserve the Hill since 2007 when re-activation of quarrying was threatened.
But that threat is now extreme, with two new quarriers in the frame.
We need to raise several thousand pounds as quickly as possible: the campaign in the past required considerable expense; but now, as the crisis deepens, and we're facing determined, hard-nosed and financially privileged opponents, we need increased professional help - and, ultimately - it looks increasingly likely - from the legal world.
Wildlife that will be lost when quarrying begins - click here)
Why this Hill?
HISTORY: the Gillies Hill is part of the official Historic Scotland Battle of Bannockburn battlefield. Why? Because it was here that Bruce stationed his Ghillies, or cooks, grooms, smiths, etc, before the Battle - the "Sma' Folk" that the poet Barbour called them in his 14th century poem . The name 'Gillies' comes from that Gaelic word ghillies. These ghillies, according to what's been passed down to us over the centuries, following the 2-day battle initially from the Hill, descended in droves, as the Battle moved Scotland's way. The English, alarmed by the number and the noise from them (perhaps banging pots and pans and waving rags like flags) thought them Scots reinforcements, and, legend has it, fled the field.
FLORA: the number of Ancient Woodland indicator species on the Hill is sufficient to classify the Hill as an Ancient Woodland.
PROTECTED WILDLIFE: native animals such as red squirrels, badgers, pine martens, and peregrine falcons live on the Hill.
LEISURE & RECREATION: the Hill is heavily used by walkers, runners, mountain bikers and rock climbers. In 2012, over 40,000 visitors to the Hill were statistically recorded.
PROXIMITY: think how close the quarry area is at present to Cambusbarron: most people don't realise this. They may walk past the Murrayshall side and think the quarry doesn't look too bad; but if you enter the site, or approach it from the woodland side, you'd be appalled at the vastness of what's already been taken away. And - think what is likely to happen if the quarriers get new or revised planning permission. It's no exaggeration to say that the whole Hill may well disappear over the next 60+ years. And then, think of a land-fill site, where what was once our beautiful woodland is filled up for another 100+ years with rubbish.
TRAFFIC: the 2007 would-be quarriers referred to 100+ lorries a day travelling to and from Murrayshall. Think, if you can, of the impact of those on Polmaise Road, on Torbrex Road, on the Kings Park area, or Cambusbarron Main Street - and think, too, of the schools near these roads.
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