Today is a big day for Oswestry. English Heritage are meeting the Town Council to discuss the Hill Fort. It’s a worry because the Council’s wish to hide behind someone else is shining like a beacon and EH sound like they’re up for a compromise for they say they aren’t against the revised plan “in principle” because “it would only affect views from the Oswestry Town side of the hillfort”.
The question arises though, how does only affecting views from the Oswestry side make the development alright? EH’s own Guidance Paper on the setting of heritage assets states that: “The significance of a heritage asset derives not only from its physical presence and historic fabric but also from its setting – the surroundings in which it is experienced….” Is it not the case that 90% of the surroundings in which this asset is experienced are on “the Oswestry Town side of the hillfort”?
Let’s hope it all works out fine. Today is a good day for a good result because it’s now less than two weeks until the new Stonehenge Visitor Centre opens, stage one of a project to restore the stones to their “splendid isolation”, something that EH will rightly enjoy worldwide praise for. At Stonehenge it will never be said new development is OK as it’s only on one side of the monument!
Finally, as we said before, if the Council wants to stand up for “no new houses round the hill fort” (and pass it on to the future unscathed by the current ephemeral scrap of doctrinal policy that will by then be long-forgotten dust) they’d better say so plain and simple and not be persuaded to support “some new houses round the hill fort”. Posterity is watching them!