Shropshire Star

Fresh plans lodged for controversial housing development near Oswestry's ancient hillfort

Fresh plans have been lodged for 83 homes near Oswestry's historic hillfort after the original plans caused uproar last year.

Oswestry hillfort was built and occupied during the Iron Age (800 BC to AD 43)

Controversial proposals for homes near the Oswestry Hillfort were rejected last March after more than 300 objections, including from the campaign group Hands Off Old Oswestry Hillfort, who insisted the development would "devastate" the setting of the monument.

Original plans for the land north of Whittington Road were given the thumbs down over environmental, drainage and noise concerns, rather than the homes' proximity to the hillfort, which was built and occupied during the Iron Age (800BC to AD43) and is one of the best-preserved hillforts in Britain, according to English Heritage.

But plans have been re-submitted by Cameron Homes, and the developer says reasons for refusal have been addressed.

A planning statement said: "The Local Planning Authority confirmed that the development site is not within an environmentally sensitive area.

"The Hillfort is considered to be a ‘sensitive site’, however the development site is not within the sensitive site or adjoining it. Whilst the development site falls within its setting on balance, matters in relation to the historic environment and likely impacts can be achieved through an up-to-date Heritage Assessment.

"The design of the development is considered to be entirely appropriate and acceptable in planning terms. The application proposals constitute sustainable development and would contribute towards meeting local housing needs of Shropshire. Therefore, it is respectfully requested that the council grant planning permission."

The development would be made up of two, three and four-bedroom houses and two-bedroom bungalows. It would include eight "affordable" dwellings. There would also be an electricity sub-station on the eastern boundary.

Oswestry Town Council objected to the plans, saying: "Members agreed that the proposed development was isolated, lacked facilities for residential housing and had not taken into account access along the railway line. It was also agreed that the excessive traffic and speed issues were a major safety concern.

"The principal objection is that the proposed development is inappropriate in this setting and context due to its close proximity to Old Oswestry Hillfort.

"A disproportionately high number of future homes are due to be delivered in the north of the town with specific impacts on the road network around Whittington Road. Existing problems will be exacerbated significantly, creating highway safety risks and both noise and air pollution. No associated works to improve Whittington Road and Gobowen Road junction are included in the proposal.

"No consideration given to the wider impact on already stretched community services such as schools and GP services.

"The town council are supportive of the restoration of rail links between the town and Gobowen along this line, the potential impact of this on the development needs to be considered. The application does not address the requirement to provide a crossing over the railway line."

The previous application attracted more than 300 objections, and earlier plans for the site have consistently met with mass objections from the public, local stakeholders, and national heritage bodies including the Council for British Archaeology, Rescue – The British Archaeological Trust, and The Prehistoric Society.

High-profile academics and media figures have also voiced their support for the campaign to protect the hillfort including Professor Alice Roberts, Professor Michael Wood, Professor Mary Beard, Bettany Hughes, Dan Snow, Tom Holland, Francis Pryor, and the author Cressida Cowell. The campaign was also featured on Griff Rhys Jones’ ITV series, Griff’s Great Britain.

The current application can be viewed at