SCOTTISH Government ministers have been asked to “step in and save” the historic Bannockburn battlefield site by preventing a planning application from moving ahead.

The National Trust for Scotland has criticised plans to build on land at the historic battlefield outside Stirling, where Robert the Bruce famously defeated King Edward II’s English army in 1314.

Stirling Council is currently considering a proposal to develop a trotting track for harness racing on the site.

But the National Trust for Scotland said the development, if it gets given the green light, would be sited “in the vicinity of where Bruce’s army faced off against the vanguard of Edward’s army on the first day of the battle”.

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Stuart Brooks, the charity’s director for conservation and policy, said they were “extremely disappointed Stirling Council planning department is considering the proposal” for the new track on what was a “nationally designated” site.

He added: “We are calling for the Scottish Government to pull this planning application to ensure the future of this historic battlefield for the benefit of future generations.”

The National Trust for Scotland has managed the battlefield, which attracts thousands of visitors a year from across the country and overseas, since 1943.

It is concerned that the planned track would be built on one of the last undeveloped areas of the designated battlefield.

It also fears that the parking and noise from racing events at the track would disturb visitors at what it describes as a “place of pilgrimage for many”.

The Robert the Bruce statue at Bannockburn, photographed alongside a Saltire

Brooks said: “Bannockburn is much more than just a battlefield. It is the location of one of the most pivotal moments in Scottish history when Robert the Bruce, King of Scots, defeated the English army led by King Edward II.

“The landscape surrounding the battlefield was instrumental in helping Robert’s men beat their English rivals and ensuring the nation’s future.

“Over previous decades much of the historic setting has been lost and we are deeply concerned about any new development that would encroach on this and further erode and degrade this iconic landscape.

“We are calling for the Scottish Government to step in and save Bannockburn battlefield from this proposal to ensure the longevity of a site steeped in Scottish history.”

While planning decisions are generally left to local authorities, Government ministers ultimately have the power to “call in” applications and overrule council decisions.

The Scottish Government and Stirling Council have been contacted for comment.