Hundreds brave cold to hug under-threat Old Oswestry Hillfort

Love was in the air as hundreds of people came together to march on an ancient hill fort as a show of unity against proposed housing.

Hundreds brave cold to hug under-threat Old Oswestry Hillfort

About 300 people descended upon Old Oswestry on Sunday to "hug the hill fort" and make a stand against plans for a housing development nearby.

Young and old turned up to show their love for the Iron Age site, also standing together to spell out from above the letters 'HOOOH' – standing for Hands Off Old Oswestry Hillfort – captured using a drone.

The march culminated in a procession with lights and drums.

Plans for housing on the hillfort's edge are being challenged by historians and local people, who say the homes will damage views at the site.

Shropshire Council has agreed that land off the Whittington Road on the edge of Oswestry should be earmarked for housing as part of its SamDev planning document.

Tim Malim, an archaeologist from Oswestry who studies sites like Old Oswestry Hillfort and also heritage planning adviser for the HOOOH campaign, said the campaigners' aim is to try to prevent development "creeping up" close to the hillfort.

He added: "Part of our planning laws at the moment are that settings for important monuments like Old Oswestry should be protected from development.

"Unfortunately as part of Shropshire Council's local plan, there is an allocation of housing for within what we believe is the important part of the setting for Old Oswestry."

Newly elected Green Party Shropshire Council member Duncan Kerr said: "People aren't opposed to housing but we have land in the south east extension ready to roll, and that land is suitable for social housing rather than the executive housing at this site."

Pip Davies, a campaign supporter, said: "We're all here today to show our love for this beautiful place.

"I've been coming here since I was young and I just feel building houses nearby will ruin the whole area."

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