The Scottish Government Reporter assessing the planning application appeal for further quarrying on the Gillies Hill site in Stirling has rejected the appeal.
Gillies Hill is home to an ancient woodland and is said to be the site where Robert the Bruce stationed the Ghillies ahead of the Battle of Bannockburn – playing a significant role in the Scots’ victory. Paterson’s Quarries had initially applied for planning permission to Stirling Council, however the Council Administration refused to make a decision on the application and it was automatically sent to an independent assessor for consideration. Cambusbarron Community Council and the Save Gillies Hill campaign both strongly opposed the application and received wide support from members of the public as well as local SNP politicians.
Local MP Steven Paterson, MSP Bruce Crawford, and SNP Councillor Scott Farmer have all welcomed the decision as a “real win for the community.”
Mr Paterson, who once served as a Councillor on Stirling Council, tabled a motion to the local authority in 2014 calling for the Gillies Hill site to be designated a local nature reserve – which would help protect it from further attempts to carry out quarrying activity.
Commenting, Steven Paterson MP said:
“Gillies Hill is a site of outstanding natural beauty as well as historical significance. Its legendary role in the Battle of Bannockburn continues to inspire generations of locals and visitors – and the diversity of wildlife that it is home to makes it all the more important that it is protected.
“Cambusbarron Community Council, along with many others involved, made a compelling case to reject this attempt to re-open quarrying activity on Gillies Hill. I hope that Stirling Council will now move to ensure that this site is properly protected so that never again will it be met by the threat of further quarrying activity.”
Bruce Crawford MSP added:
“I am delighted by this outcome which is a huge credit to the local community council and campaign group – who campaigned hard for years to protect this unique local asset.
“I hope that the quarrying company involved in the planning application recognise that this is the end of the road and that no such activity will take place in or around Gillies Hill.”
Local Councillor Scott Farmer added:
“This is the right decision from the Scottish Government Reporter and I know that the whole community will be relieved that this process is now over.
“Had the Tory/Labour coalition who run Stirling Council shown some political leadership before now, we would never had to have gotten to this point and I hope key lessons have been learned by this.
“This is a real win for the local community and I am grateful to the campaigners for their passionate approach to tackling this matter.”