Oswestry School car park plans set for green light despite concerns about historic site
Plans for a 46-bay car park at independent Oswestry School school have been recommended for approval.
The school wants to build the car park to alleviate pressure on members of staff who are finding it hard to get a space.
But opponents say the proposed location of the car park is of significant historical interest, being on a former battle site.
However, Shropshire Council’s North Planning Committee has been recommended to approve the plans.
Oswestry Town Council has also objected to the scheme, saying it impacts on nearby residents’ privacy.
A report to the committee by case officer Mark Perry says: “The submitted application is for the creation of additional car parking for use by staff and visitors to Oswestry School.
“The car park would provide space for 46 cars which is in addition to the 36 spaces that were created by the adjacent car park which received planning permission in 2012.
“At present the existing car park has a single access which is adjacent to the Bursars House.
“The addition of the extra car parking also involves the creation of a second access thereby allowing separate ‘in’ and ‘out’ points for vehicles.
“As part of the proposal the applicant is also suggesting revisions to the existing on-street parking arrangements and the creation of a new Traffic Regulation Order to introduce new on street parking restrictions.
“By providing extra off-street parking provision it will allow the school to reconfigure how they use the existing access and vehicle circulation space within the school complex which the school states would make it safer for pedestrians as currently there is significant risk because of one of the blind bends within the school site.
“Changes will also mean that the existing mini-roundabout will be utilised more which would assist in the free flow of traffic along Upper Brook Street.”
An issue that has been raised by residents and the town council is the historic value of the playing fields as there is opinion locally that the field is the site of the Battle of Maserfelth.
It is said to have been fought in 642 between Oswald and the Christian King of Northumbria, and Penda, the pagan ruler of Mercia.
There are, however, at least two other claimed sites for the battle in Lancashire and Gloucestershire.
Shropshire Council conducted two previous inspections of the site of the existing car park, adjacent to the proposed development site, during turf stripping works in July 2012. However, no archaeologically significant features or deposits were observed.
Oswestry Town Council’s objection read: “It is considered that the application presents a loss of privacy to neighbouring properties and will provide a public nuisance (noise and light pollution), particularly by the extended hours of usage intended.
“The council recognise that a solution needs to be found to address the traffic problems that exist in the location.
“Councillors were not satisfied that all alternative options on the main school site, to satisfy parking needs, have been investigated.”
But in conclusion Mr Perry said: “It is considered by officers that the proposed car park extension is needed to meeting the continuing growth of education and sports facilities that the school has to offer, not just for pupils but also for the wider community.”
The meeting will be held next Tuesday at Shirehall.
Story by Local Democracy Reporter Andrew Morris