Oswestry Hillfort campaigners criticise planners

Campaigners against plans to build homes around Oswestry's ancient hillfort have criticised county planners for the way they have dealt with the proposals.

The Old Oswestry Hillfort
The Old Oswestry Hillfort

Areas of land around the 3,000-year-old landmark have been put forward as potential sites for housing under Shropshire Council's SAMDev, a county-wide blueprint of where houses are to be built in the future.

The move sparked an online petition by the The Hands Off Old Oswestry Hillfort (HOOOH) group which attracted nearly 8,000 signatures against the plans.

Campaigners say they are worried about the impact almost 200 proposed homes so close to the Scheduled Ancient Monument would have on the hillfort.

Kate Clarke, from HOOOH, said: "Shropshire Council planners have rejected housing further away and to the west of Old Oswestry, stating unequivocally that it will have significant detrimental impacts on the hillfort's setting.

"You would expect at least the same assessment for the development at Oldport Farm to the east, which is much closer, coming within 80 metres of the monument. This shows blatant inconsistency in planning interpretation."

Miss Clarke said the group's concerns were shared with leading historical experts.

Shropshire Council's cabinet member for planning, Councillor Malcolm Price, said the authority's proposals were the result of "careful consideration".

He added the protection of the hillfort setting had always been the primary consideration and stressed that no planning applications had yet been submitted for any area of land.

"I would encourage those interested to look closely at the proposals and to consider them objectively and with regard to the best interests of Oswestry as a whole," he said.

"The council will be publishing the next version of the SAMDev Plan in March for final representations on the soundness of the plan, prior to its submission to the Secretary of State for independent examination later in the year."

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