A CAMPAIGN to save Oswestry’s historic hillfort has gone worldwide after visitors from as far as New Zealand and Brazil lodged their support.
The Save Old Oswestry campaign was launched less than three weeks ago to stop proposals for three housing developments at the foot of the Iron Age structure, which were submitted as part of Shropshire Council’s Site Allocation Management and Development (SAMDev) plan.
But as the petition passed the 3,000 signature mark last week, the man behind it, John Waine from The Best of Oswestry, revealed an overwhelming number of supporters adding their names are from thousands of miles away, something he says demonstrates the tourism opportunities that can be created through the site.
He said: “It’s really staggering.
“I knew people thought highly of it, but this is unbelievable.
“There are so many people around the world who have lost their ancient monuments and they don't want us to do the same, this is part of our heritage.”
Mr Waine explained how the petition came from a meeting to close the Oswestry 2020 neighbourhood plan, when he said neither Oswestry Town Council or Shropshire Council officials seemed resigned to the SAMDev proposals, which are currently in the second, and final, consultation period.
And he also revealed that the hillfort, which is rumoured to be the birthplace of legendary King Arthur’s wife, Guinevere, has also won the favour with Iron Age archaeological specialists, saying there was “literally nothing [hillfort examples] better” during a recent visit.
But Mr Waine also hit out at Councillor Keith Barrow’s comments that he could not help the campaign, stating that although the Shropshire Council leader could not interfere with planning applications, he could support the petition’s aim when Cabinet discusses the final SAMDev policy.
He said: “Shropshire Council offered us a consultation and this is it.
“This is a 13-year policy and other land will become available over that time, so what we are saying is don’t damage our heritage, protect it and preserve it, which is something Shropshire Council state they should do in other policies.”
The deadline for the petition is this Friday, August 23, and if 1,000 signatures are validated it will spark a full council meeting.