PRESS RELEASE: Housing plans in hillfort landscape ignore development boundaries, say campaigners

Plans for controversial housing on the outskirts of Oswestry breach development ‘red lines’ within the landscape of Old Oswestry, one of Britain’s most important Iron Age hillforts.

This is the claim by campaign group, HOOOH, as comments are sought on revised plans for a large housing estate in the setting of the scheduled 3,000-year-old monument.

The groups says: “In 2014, Shropshire Council and English Heritage (now Historic England) agreed important conditions for any potential scheme on this site in a Statement of Common Ground. One was to ensure that development does not extend north of the buildings west of the allocation. The proposed housing plans significantly exceed this limit.

“The scheme also breaches the town boundary to exploit land that Shropshire Council has ruled out for potential development through to at least 2036 following a meeting with HOOOH and Historic England. Clearly, Shropshire Council needs to question their change in direction. What we see today in terms of planning is not what was assured to Historic England, to the HOOOH campaign or the general public.”

Galliers Homes has submitted plans to build 100 houses in 2 phases south-east of the ancient hillfort. Thousands have opposed allocation of the site for development since it was first proposed in 2012 in Shropshire’s SAMDev local plan.

The deadline for responses is today (October 21), although HOOOH says that comments can be registered after this.

“We are urging people to object without delay as this could be the final chance for the public to register their opposition. It still defies belief how this frightening vision of a sprawling housing estate in the setting of a national archaeological icon has got this far when there are other sites to build and housing targets in Oswestry have been scaled down for the next 20 years. The proposals would undoubtedly harm the significance of this magnificent hillfort and its precious historic landscape, a site of such importance that it has been acknowledged as the ‘Stonehenge of the Iron Age’.”

HOOOH also points out that open views to the hillfort from the B4580 Whittington Road, a key gateway to the town, would be obliterated by development.

Members of the public can view details of the applications and make comments on Shropshire Council’s planning portal searching for the references 19/02685/EIA and 19/02686/EIA. Links and information about submitting comments are also available on the hillfort website at www.oldoswestryhillfort.co.uk

HOOOH adds that those objecting by email should be aware that Shropshire Council has changed the previous address for submitting comments to: planning.northern@shropshire.gov.uk

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