U-turn on homes plan at historic beauty spot


Emily Davies

CONTENSCIOUS plans to build more than 70 houses on the doorstep of Oswestry’s historic hillfort have been scrapped by Shropshire Council.
Potential developments on land adjacent to Jasmine Gardens and on Oldport Farm were removed from the Site Allocations and Development (SAMDev) plan at a meeting at Shirehall on Wednesday, February 19.
The Whittington Road site has still been included.
Campaigners have welcomed the decision to scrap plans for two of the three proposed housing sites but have vowed to continue thier fight to prevent 117 homes being built at the Whittington Road site.
John Waine, who led the Hands Off Old Oswestry Hillfort (HOOOH) campaign, described the initial victory as “heartening”.

He said: “While we are pleased to see two of the three damaging strategic proposals removed from SAMDev, it leaves the third proposal with even less reason to stay.
“The fact is, and we are supported in this by Oswestry Town Council, that a full and independent review now needs to take place of the archaeological reports from whatever source.
“The Whittington Road site needs to be suspended from the SAMDev process while this can take place.”
He continued: “No council with an ounce of integrity can base strategic planning decisions on reports that have been criticised as inadequate, incomplete and non-compliant by professional bodies.”
However, Shropshire Council leader, Councillor Keith Barrow, said removing the third site would mean the county will not have a five-year supply of housing land.
He continued: “It was always going to be the case that we would listen, but we have got to find space for 24,000 houses in Shropshire.
“Our officers came forward with their recommendations and we made the decision taking into account representations from the public because that is what we are here for, to listen to the public.”
Cllr Barrow says there will still be an opportunity for campaigners to appeal the Whittington Road site when it comes under the planning inspectorate spotlight in the Autumn.
This will come after the plan is sent out for a further six-week consultation in March following a final debate by Shropshire Council in full on Thursday, February 27.

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