Shropshire Star

Bomb hunters still combing Shropshire building site

A specialist explosive disposal company is still surveying parts of a building site where two wartime bomb shells were found earlier this year.

The scene at the building site in June

The shells were found at a site off Artillery Road, in Park Hall, Oswestry, where a number of houses are being built by Chartland Homes on land that was formerly an army camp.

For three weeks the disposal company has been surveying about a quarter of the site, and looking two feet underground to check for any more devices or ammunition.

Andrew Jones, of Chartland Homes, said the company is doing everything it can to make the site safe and reduce the fears of nearby residents.

However, claims have been made that shells and other hazardous materials could be buried up to four feet underground.

In June two wartime bomb shells were found at the site within the space of a month. The first was found on June 6, with the site evacuated and a bomb disposal unit deployed to the site.

Then the site was shut down for a second time on June 18, with residents told to stay indoors and stay away from their windows.

Both times the device was taken away from the area and detonated in an open space.

An Oswestry resident, who worked for MoD contractors at the time the camp was decommissioned about 40 years ago, has said that the land being built on was used as a dumping ground.

He said the contractors were told to bury hazardous materials, including asbestos, and he was worried about it being uncovered.

Mr Jones, from the construction company, said: “We have had a specialist firm on site who have been working for three weeks and have been searching a quarter of the site.

“It is hard to differentiate what is metal and what is ammunition, so they have been going down two feet and scanning the ground.

"When they have got two feet down they will scan the ground again. It is quite a large area they are looking at. If we find something we will investigate and we are doing everything we can to make the area safe.”

Residents in the area are still concerned and have contacted Shropshire Council asking for the site to be properly cleared – and for Chartland to review safety at the site after people were spotted walking across the site during evenings and weekends.

In an email to a resident, Tim Rogers, area planning manager for Shropshire Council, said the authority would be writing to the developers to remind them of their responsibility.

He said: “I am therefore writing to the developers of the site to advise them of their responsibility in respect of the planning condition, notwithstanding any action that might currently being carried out by other agencies.”