Oswestry Hillfort housing bid stays in plans

A housing site planned in the shadow of Oswestry's ancient hillfort will remain in the development masterplan for Shropshire.

The Old Oswestry Hillfort
The Old Oswestry Hillfort

Officials from the Hands Off Old Oswestry Hillfort (HOOOH) asked for the Whittington Road site to removed from the SAMDev strategic plan guiding future housing developments around Shropshire.

Oswestry Town Council also supported the idea of the site being dropped. Two other sites in the shadow of the hillfort were taken out of the development plan last week. The decision was a major change to the original plans for almost 200 homes in the area. It followed a petition against the proposals signed by more than 8,000 people. John Waine, from HOOOH, said he hoped the idea of keeping the third site in the document would also be reconsidered.

But Councillor Mal Price, Shropshire Council portfolio holder for housing, said he would not be making further changes. He said developers had already been in touch asking to reinstate the other two locations. Councillor Price said both the objectors and developers would have to make their views known in the next stage of public consultation.

The SAMDev proposals, which will guide the building of thousands of homes and the creation of new employment land in Shropshire up until 2026, were approved unanimously by councillors yesterday. A six-week period of public consultation will now start on March 14.

Representations will be submitted to the secretary of state in July, when a planning inspector will be appointed to examine the plan during the autumn. Councillors raised concern the SAMDev proposals, which have been drawn up after consultation with the public over four years, were being superseded by the Government's National Planning Policy Framework.

Because Shropshire Council is deemed not to have enough development land for the next five years, planners can only reject schemes that can be proved to damage the local environment. This has resulted in a spate of applications for sites not included in the draft SAMDev document.

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