PROTESTERS have called for a fair hearing over plans to build more than 100 homes near an ancient hillfort.

Campaign group Hands Off Old Oswestry Hillfort (HOOOH) has spoken out over proposals by Galliers Homes to build up to 117 homes on land at Oldport Farm off Whittington Road, Oswestry.

But HOOOH has warned Shropshire council that the public will expect a “robust and even-handed determination process”.

This comes after the land (OSW004) was allocated in Shropshire’s Local Plan (SAMDev) using what campaigners called a “flawed and inadequate heritage statement and with no environmental assessment”, adding that it was also contrary to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) nd Shropshire Council’s own policies to protect the county’s heritage.

HOOOH says: “In addition to decimating an Iron Age landscape of incalculable cultural value, the scheme would squander high grade agricultural land belonging to a registered historic farmstead for housing that could and should be built elsewhere. The government’s stated priority is for development on brownfield sites in preference to greenfield, especially high tariff greenfield like OSW004 within the setting of a nationally significant hillfort.

“Urban sprawl in this spot will add to noise, air and light pollution, detracting from a heritage asset and tourist attraction with global appeal. It will also exacerbate traffic congestion on Shropshire’s busiest trunk road lying just metres away, as well as adding to the gridlock on routes to the Marches School on the other side of town.

“Of all the places to target housing in this vast county, this enigmatic hillfort and landscape lauded by experts as the Stonehenge of the Iron Age should not be one of them.”

Campaigners said that Oswestry Civic Society has been promoting turning the hillfort’s setting into a country park.

They added: “Local people favour the retention of farming as a green lung around old Oswestry.”