Heritage group to have say on controversial hillfort homes plan

Published date: 03 December 2013 |
Published by: Emily Davies 
Read more articles by Emily Davies  Email reporter


CONTROVERSIAL plans to build homes close to Oswestry’s historic hillfort will come under the spotlight again this week.
English Heritage will meet with Oswestry Town Council on Thursday to debate whether three housing developments in the vicinity of the Iron Age structure should be included as part of Shropshire Council’s Site Allocations and Management of Development (SAMDev) plan.
The national organisation, deemed ‘the custodians of the hillfort’ were unable to attend October’s high-profile meeting and public drop-in session between the council and Shropshire Council, campaigner John Waine and those working on behalf of the landowner to bring the project to fruition, after receiving their invitation at short notice.

Mayor of Oswestry, Councillor Chris Schofield, said this week’s meeting would give the council the final information required before their decision is delivered.
He said: “All members of the council recognise that our response could be a major influence in deciding where future development takes place in Oswestry and some of these are very controversial.
“The council are concerned that a gap exists in the jigsaw in terms of face-to-face contact with English Heritage, who are the custodians of the site, and therefore I have been anxious that all options and views are taken on board as I feel it is vitally important for the town council to have them.”
An English Heritage spokesperson said they had negotiated “very considerable reductions” in the proposed development sites, but would not support the two sites closest to the hillfort.
They added: “English Heritage continues to emphasise the importance of high quality design and detailed master-planning. We hope further discussions with those involved will prove productive and will be meeting with the town council, town clerk and mayor and other interested local groups next week.”
Mr Waine, whose petition calling for the protection of the hillfort gained over 5,000 signatures from across the world, said he welcomed the meeting, but said transparency was vital.


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