Oswestry Hillfort campaigners in council HQ demo

Reporter:

Daniel Heald

CAMPAIGNERS opposed to a new housing development near Oswestry Hillfort are to stage a protest at Shropshire Council headquarters.

The Hands Off Old Oswestry Hillfort (HOOOH) group will demonstrate on the steps of Shirehall buildings in Shrewsbury on December 17, where the council is due to approve the countywide planning blueprint known as SAMdev.

The plan includes a site for 117 houses off Whittington Road known as OSW004, which the group has vehemently opposed because they claim it will tarnish the land surrounding a key heritage asset.

The 3,000-year-old hillfort is a scheduled monument and recognised as one of the most important – as well as the best-preserved – hillforts of its type in Britain.

The demonstration follows inspector Claire Sherratt’s verdict after examining SAMDev that OSW004 would “lead to less than substantial harm to the significance of a designated asset.”

HOOOH member Neil Phillips said: “Shropshire Council may be hoping to sign over our heritage to the bulldozer and escape the fallout during the Christmas break. But we have a prominent legal firm briefed and ready to launch a judicial review if OSW004 remains in SAMDev.”

“The Old Oswestry campaign has never been a Nimby or anti-housing protest. It has only ever been about the heritage. 

“During consultation, stakeholders including Oswestry Town Council asked Shropshire planners to review housing sites in Oswestry and implement better protection for the hillfort setting, but they have refused.”

Fellow campaigner Maggie Rowlands added: “Ratifying OSW004 on Shropshire’s local plan is a golden ticket to build, for which each and every Shropshire councillor will shoulder responsibility.

“If this housing estate goes up, we will be reminded every day of their decision to ignore the overwhelming consensus of the public and the most qualified opinions of British archaeology.

“Every day, local electors will be hit in the face by their legacy – a growing wedge of bricks and concrete obliterating the ancient green landscape intrinsic to the hillfort’s value and beauty.” 

She added: “It is not too late to say ‘no’. Local stakeholders are keen to sit down right now to resolve housing delivery which doesn’t jeopardise this national treasure of British heritage.”

The In Defence Of Old Oswestry demonstration takes place at 9am on Thursday, December 17 on the steps of Shirehall, Shrewsbury. HOOOH is urging people to sign up and follow the countdown to the protest at www.facebook.com/

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