An eleventh hour meeting between Oswestry Town Council and English Heritage takes place in Oswestry this Thursday (Dec 5) to discuss Shropshire Council’s desire to allocate housing by Old Oswestry Hillfort as part of its SAMDev plan. The proposal to build 188 houses on the protected setting of a Scheduled Ancient Monument has drawn objections locally and worldwide.
A spokesperson for the campaign Hands Off Old Oswestry Hillfort (HOOOH) said: “It’s staggering that we are still talking about this. Judging from correspondence between Shropshire Council and English Heritage obtained through a Freedom of Information request, it is clear that Shropshire Council has chosen to ignore the primary guidance from the National Guardian’s of the site to carry on their own plan regardless. It seems the county council has set aside their responsibility to protect the priceless heritage of each and every one of us, in favour of facilitating property developers.
“In the council’s own consultation, the majority of respondents have stated their objections against the hillfort sites, and we now have some 7500 individual objectors to the plan. Several important local groups and institutions have strongly objected, too, including The British Archaeological Trust, The Prehistoric Society, Shropshire Wildlife Trust, Selattyn & Gobowen Parish Council, The Ramblers (Shropshire) and Oswestry Civic Society.
“We call on Shropshire Council and its Leader to halt their peculiar obsession with damaging Old Oswestry Hillfort and look to develop the several other brownfield sites available to meet the arbitrary housing target they have set out.”
In a further twist to the campaign against the highly controversial proposals, English Heritage’s meeting with Oswestry Town Council, previously slated as part of a site visit on October 17 with councillors and campaigners, will now be behind closed doors. HOOOH believes such a key meeting on a matter of the town’s heritage ought to be open to the public for transparency and scrutiny.