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Oswestry Hillfort housing plan deadline draws close

By Lucy Todman | Oswestry | News | Published:

Campaigners in Shropshire have just days to lodge their comments in a bid to stop a proposed housing development being built on one land close to one of Britain’s best-preserved Iron Age hillforts.

Old Oswestry Hillfort

There are just days to go before the final deadline for comments on the highly controversial 100-dwelling estate close to the Old Oswestry Hillfort is reached.

Oswestry and District Civic Society has registered its objections, stating that the proposed layout and house designs are ‘at best mediocre, and at worst atrocious'.

It adds that the proposals conflict with the policies of the NPPF (National Planning Policy Framework) for the protection of the historic environment.

Historic England, Oswestry Town Council, Selattyn and Gobowen Parish Council, and Cambrian Heritage Railways have also objected.

Galliers Homes submitted a planning statement for two phases of building work in October.

The developers say the impact of the scheme would be no more harmful to the hillfort than that of the A5 and several other town centre developments which can be seen from the historic site.

During the seven-year campaign, the plight of the hillfort has attracted support from around the world including leading academics, historians and celebrities such as history broadcasters Michael Wood, Dan Snow, Alice Roberts, Mary Beard and Tom Holland, as well as children’s author Cressida Cowell, actor John Challis of Only Fools and Horses fame, and Ralf and Viv from Channel 4’s ‘Gogglebox’.

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Campaign group HOOOH (Hands Off Old Oswestry Hillfort) said: “The hillfort land allocation was approved in SAMDev back in 2014 under the pressure of meeting over-ambitious housing targets and five-year housing land supply, and because there were no other viable locations. Five years on, the planning imperative for this most unpopular of development sites has shifted seismically.

"The county’s five-year housing land is in surplus and housing numbers for Oswestry are being majorly scaled back in the local plan review to 2036, while many new sites have come forward.”

The group says that the masterplan design and housing quality are wholly inadequate and ignore two clear development boundaries, with well over a third of the scheme lying outside these limits. They also argue that the supporting evidence hugely understates the site’s heritage significance and community value placed on the hillfort and its surviving, unspoilt landscape.

Last year, the hillfort and its setting provided the emotive backdrop for a beacon lighting ceremony as part of national commemorations of the WW1 Armistice centenary.

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Campaigners said: “The considerable national heritage importance of the hillfort and its hinterlands together with the communal value placed on their preservation are not outweighed by the public benefits being claimed.

“We urge anyone concerned to object by November 19.”

To make a comment go to https://pa.shropshire.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=neighbourComments&keyVal=PT3OQGTDN4300 or https://pa.shropshire.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=neighbourComments&keyVal=PT3OX0TDN4500

Lucy Todman

By Lucy Todman
@shroptod

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star and Shrewsbury Chronicle based in Shrewsbury.

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