Hillfort homes fight: Battle now to change the planning process


Sarah Staples

SHROPSHIRE Council is keeping plans for 117 homes at the foot of Oswestry’s Iron Age hillfort in its development plan.
But Oswestry town councillors asked for Shropshire Council to remove the Whittington Road site from the Site Allocations and Management of Development (SAMDev) plan ahead of last week’s meeting.
Thirty-six houses by Jasmine Gardens and 35 on Oldport Farm have already been scrapped.
A six-week consultation on the SAMDev starts this month.
Oswestry town councillor Duncan Kerr said: “I think it is a great shame. Oswestry Town Council’s position changed, as had English Heritage’s, and we heard the views from the professional archaeologists. It’s a great regret that they [Shropshire Council]  are not listening to these views.”

English Heritage recently changed stance on the plans, announcing they have “serious concerns” over the Whittington Road site, prompting Oswestry council to match their views.
The town council’s move against Whittington Road was welcomed by Hands Off Old Oswestry Hillfort (HOOOH).
But HOOOH member John Waine said he was disappointed with Shropshire Council, adding: “As far as we are concerned they have shown complete disrespect for the town council who listened carefully to advice.
“Over the next six weeks we will be submitting objections of the SAMDev process and looking to render the process unsound.
“At this stage that is the only thing you can object to – the process.”
Leader of Shropshire Council, Keith Barrow said removing the site would mean there will not be a five-year land supply and that there will be more opportunities for people to express their views during the consultation. He said: “It has been left in SAMDev. We will be going through a six-week consultation and during that there will be some people who say they want it in and some who want it out.
“I don’t think any councillors challenged it at the meeting, which was about all of SAMDev.”
Cllr Barrow also said he feels planning guidance they have been given “is a disgrace,” adding: “We have been to nearly 300 public meetings and we were reaching a consensus on the planning guidance. But now there are plans going through that I don’t want and local people don’t want.”

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