Scottish ministers threaten to step in if councillors give Bannockburn harness track bid green light

The British Harness Racing Club has submitted an application to Stirling Council planners to create a trotting track and facilities on land west of New Line Road and south of Fairhill Road at Whins of Milton

Scottish Ministers have said they will step in if Stirling councillors back a bid to create a harness racing track on Bannockburn Battlefield.

An application lodged by Mr H Muirhead for the formation of the trotting track and erection of an amenity facility to provide toilets, a licensed bar and hot food and drink takeaway came before Stirling Council’s planning panel on Tuesday.

Councillors voted by four votes to two yesterday (Tuesday) to make a site visit before deciding on the application.

However, at the start of the meeting they were told that a notification had been received from the Scottish Government just the day before. It said if members were “minded to approve” the application, ministers would intervene and the council would have to pause the granting of the permission for at least 28 days to allow the ministers to further assess the impact on the historic battlefield and listed buildings “of national significance”.

Councillor Danny Gibson said: “I can’t recollect ever having a notification like this at this seems highly unusual to me.”

During discussion on the application, members heard that events were likely to take place on the site 20 times a year on Thursday evenings between 7-9pm and on Sundays from 2-5pm, outwith peak traffic times.

However, while roads officials had assessed parking and traffic arrangements, councillors still had some questions over these and also lighting arrangements.

While councillors Neil Benny and Paul Henke said they were content to make a decision on the application without a site visit, councillors Danny Gibson, Gerry McGarvey and Alasdair Tollemache backed a suggestion by panel chair Rachel Nunn that they should see the location for themselves before reaching a conclusion.