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Bid for homes near ancient Shropshire hillfort wins backing

Oswestry | News | Published:

Controversial plans to build new homes on a beauty spot near to the site of an ancient Iron Age hillfort look set to be given the go-ahead, despite objections from residents.

Shropshire Council officers are recommending outline planning permission be granted to build the properties on land known locally as "The Rough", off Corvedale Road and part of the unofficial "gateway" into Craven Arms.

But they are also urging a stringent set of restrictions should be imposed – including allowing archaeologists onto the site before any building work takes place.

The land is next to where an old hillfort known as Norton Camp once stood, and council chiefs want to make sure there is nothing of value on the development site before building work takes place.

Developer Norton Estates is proposing to build up to 14 homes on the site, with the great majority being larger three and four-bedroomed detached homes.

But Craven Arms Town Council is objecting to the application, and 28 letters from residents living nearby have also been sent in to Shropshire Council.

Shropshire Council's ecology team has also objected because of fears that trees on the site which had the potential to be used by roosting bats could be lost as part of the development.

A statement from the town council says: "The area of proposed development is on a greenfield site viewed by the public as an important historic and leisure area which should be protected."

The plans come after Shropshire Council controversially included a site for 117 houses straddling the setting of Old Oswestry Hillfort in its masterplan for county development to 2026.

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Campaigners from Hands Off Old Oswestry Hillfort has asked for the site at Whittington Road to removed from the SAMDev strategic plan guiding future housing developments around Shropshire.

Two other sites in the shadow of the hillfort were taken out of the development plan earlier this year. 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.

Objectors say the plans for homes off Corvedale Road would lead to an increase in traffic on the B4368, increase the risk of flooding of neighbouring properties, result in the loss of a piece of land used by walkers and dog owners and set a precedent for further development in the area.

They also claim it would lead to a loss of wildlife through habitat destruction and claim it is smaller, affordable homes that are needed in the town instead of bigger developments.

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Part of the planned development site is part of the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) site.

But in a report set to go to members of Shropshire Council's south planning committee for a final decision, officers say: "The proposals would not result in any unacceptably adverse impacts.

"The proposed housing mix would help to meet a shortfall in this type of housing within the settlement of Craven Arms. Outline permission is therefore recommended, subject to appropriate conditions."

The application will be discussed at the next meeting of the planning committee on Tuesday (may27), which takes place in the Shrewsbury Room at Shirehall, Abbey Foregate, Shrewsbury, from 2pm.

Members of the public are welcome to attend.

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