A CAMPAIGN to block controversial housing plans is gaining momentum and attracting support from across the country.
Residents, councillors, environmentalists and historians are fighting proposals to build two new housing developments in Trefonen, one of which, if given the green light, would partly cover a field which also houses a section of Offa’s Dyke.
Oswestry Rural Parish Council voted against the plans for 12 houses north of Whitridge Way, which has prompted 155 objections on Shropshire Council’s planning portal, and 22 houses off Chapel Lane, which attracted 151 against.
These developments would increase the village’s size by about 20 per cent.
Councillors agreed the development would have a detrimental effect on the rural character of the village, potentially leading to urban sprawl and does not satisfy the local need for affordable housing.
Val Smout, clerk to the parish council, told county planners she had received 191 objections.
She said: “Trefonen is a small rural village but the response from the community against these applications for 34 houses has been extraordinary.”
An article by Andrew Heaton posted on the website of The Heritage Journal, a community resource dedicated to prehistoric sites, described the Dyke as “nationally important” and “internationally renowned” and claimed the proposed development site at Whitridge Way contains “potentially important archaeological features and remains”.
“To the best of my knowledge there have been no exploratory investigations and currently no heritage impact assessment report is available,” he said.
“It is clearly essential that such work should be conducted before a planning decision is taken otherwise really important archaeology could be destroyed.”
This view was backed by parish councillor Tony Cheetham who added: “There’s not much going on in Trefonen but one thing we do have is thousands of walkers coming here to Offa’s Dyke so we cannot support this application.”
Shropshire Wildlife Trust (SWT) and the Campaign to Protect Rural England are so concerned about Shropshire Council’s need to meet the Government’s national planning policy framework by building tens of thousands of new houses by 2026 that they called a public meeting last week to discuss their battle plans.
Colin Preston, director of SWT, said: “We have a great challenge on our hands to make sure these houses go in the right place and that damage to our fragile environment and its wildlife is minimised.”