Historic Perthshire castle with role in Stone of Destiny theft could lose protection

© SuppliedThe Stone of Destiny.
The Stone of Destiny.

An historic Perthshire landmark that played a crucial role in the theft of the Stone of Destiny could soon be downgraded as it is not “of national importance”.

Historic Environment Scotland (HES) want to remove Auchterarder Castle, which sits on Castlemains Farm Steading, from its schedule of monuments, sparking fears the relic could be at greater risk from developers.

The castle was where Edward I stationed his troops when he journeyed north to steal the Stone of Destiny from Scone in 1296.

The HES move  follows an assessment by the heritage body which concluded that “the remains of the former castle is no longer of national importance”.

HES, formerly Historic Scotland, is currently holding a consultation on the proposal. People have until July 19 to comment.

The agency said there has also been a request to add the castle and the grounds of Castlemains Farm Steading to the List of buildings at category C, which would give it some additional protection.

This suggestion is also under consideration as part of the consultation.

The move has raised fears that the downgrade would put the castle at greater risk from developers after planning applications for developments at the farm steadings were rejected only last year.

An application to demolish buildings and replace them with 12 houses at the farm was rejected by Perth and Kinross Council in November 2018, on the grounds that it could have had “an adverse effect on the integrity of a Scheduled Monument and its setting”.

Roseanna Cunningham, SNP MSP, has called on locals to have their say in the future of Auchterarder Castle, saying : “It could well be that it is the one remaining link to the Lang Toon’s medieval past.”

Ms Cunningham added: “The Scheduling and Listing system is an important part of the way in which we protect and preserve historic monuments and our built heritage for future generations.

“I am aware that there is the potential for the continued development of housing in the area to threaten the future of this ancient piece of our local heritage and serious consideration must be given to whether the proposals by HES strengthen or undermine our ability to prevent that happening.

“Decisions regarding the national importance of ancient buildings need to be informed by local voices.”

Anyone wishing to comment on the consultation by HES can do so by visiting portal.historicenvironment.scot/decision/500002534