Councillors supporting proposals to build by Old Oswestry hillfort in North Shropshire will face a backlash at the next elections, according to local campaigners
The claim follows a street poll carried out in Oswestry town centre over the weekend by campaign group HOOOH (Hands Off Old Oswestry Hillfort).
Campaigner, Kate Clarke, said: “We asked members of the public if they would vote for a candidate who had supported the hillfort housing proposals, and the immediate and almost overwhelming response was ‘no’. People feel that strongly about this issue and about the fact that public opinion against the proposals is being flatly ignored by Shropshire Council.”
The poll of over 100 people revealed that more than 99% would not be putting their cross against candidates that had backed the hillfort bids when local elections come round.
Shropshire Council has included a site for 117 houses (OSW004) straddling the near setting of Old Oswestry in its SAMDev masterplan for county development to 2026. The plan is out for final consultation on ‘soundness’ until April 28.
Ms Clarke said: “This is an indicator that communities suffering similar bids to build on sensitive sites under new government planning will be actively looking for heritage and environment champions at the next local and general elections.”
Shropshire Council leader, Keith Barrow, said it was keeping the contentious site in strategic plans to meet five year housing supply. He also commented in the press that no Shropshire councillor had spoken up against OSW004, signalling the Council’s wholesale approval to build in damaging proximity to one of the County’s and Britain’s finest ancient monuments.
Oswestry Town Council has taken a show of hands on two occasions on the OSW004 site, coming out against its inclusion in SAMDev in the most recent vote.