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Especially the ones at Oswestry!
A warning: if you want to see one of Britain’s finest hillforts at it’s optimum get up to Oswestry TODAY. It’s hard to believe it but there are some elected Councillors on Shropshire Council that have in mind to damage its setting, so this view may well be different next Easter…..
“Notably philistine” and “not necessary“! Any Councillor who votes to allow the development is going to have to convince themselves and others that neither of those accusations is true. Good luck with that!
If you’re in The Midlands and contemplating a “bronze age outing” this Easter, there’s no need to go far. You could visit Mitchell’s Fold Stone Circle, high on the heathland of Stapeley Hill in West Shropshire. You’ll need to be fairly fit as it’s a bit of a climb but well worth it for the wonderful views it commands. Friend of The Journal Tish Farrell provides lots of information about this fascinating place here and here.
If you’re here you probably like ancient sites and want to see them fully appreciated and preserved. The Journal is a community resource for everyone that feels that way so why not join in and add your voice or images??
We’re always looking for contributions – news, views, pictures, you name it – anything that helps raise the public profile of these places. If you’re out and about over Easter and visiting an ancient site or perhaps attending a related event (you can get some ideas from our Diary of Prehistory and Heritage Events ) and you feel you have something worth sharing why not get in touch?
Thanks! Enjoy the break. Most of us will be away but we’ll leave someone in charge of the shop for if you’d like to get in touch, particularly if you have any news.
The remains of a two thousand years old Roman wall (yes, Roman – we’re thinking of extending our remit beyond the prehistoric) in Winchester has been removed and “turned to rubble” to make way for new houses. “It’s desperately sad” said Colin Cook, of the Winchester Area Tourist Guides Association. “As far as I can see it’s gone away on a lorry. There is no possibility of rebuilding it anywhere else.”
A Council spokesman said “preservation of part of the surviving remains of the city wall within the site is not possible” and earlier Professor Martin Biddle, a world-renowned archaeologist had said that so long as the site was fully excavated and recorded, he did not feel the wall was necessarily worth preserving. “Cities are living things” he added.
Indeed, but a 2000 year old wall? Couldn’t the 14 new houses have been built further out where perhaps a 1950′s toilet block or a wooden bus shelter could have been sacrificed to progress? Was there nowhere else where Winchester’s housing stock could have been expanded by 14 except in the heart of the city where houses prices (and profits) are sky high? Was preservation of part of the surviving remains of the city wall truly “not possible”? It all seems a bit Oddwestry.
The Environment Secretary and MP for Oswestry, Owen (“Hill Fort? What hill fort?”) Paterson is not a man to change his mind merely because of evidence (ask the badgers and foxes!) So he’s sticking to his guns on biodiversity offsetting despite it’s efficacy being seriously challenged. He and the government had cited the success of schemes in Australia but those have now been branded “disappointing” by a leading expert over there – “I am very disappointed with the gap between the principles of biodiversity offsetting and practice. The science indicates that it is not feasible in the majority of circumstances to destroy biodiversity at site A and simply reinstate it at site B.” The Institute for European Environmental Policy suggested the same thing: “offsets more often than not provide ‘equivalent biodiversity’ that is grossly inferior to that which was destroyed.“
The suspicion. of course, is that pushing offsetting is a fig leaf to help developers. Sandra Bell, nature campaigner at Friends of the Earth, says “The government should pull the plug on these madcap ‘offsetting’ plans and get on with delivering its commitments to protect and boost wildlife through better planning.” A total of over 140 environment groups from around the world have now signed a statement condemning the policy: “Offsetting will not tackle biodiversity loss, but may impoverish communities. Its introduction allows, or even encourages, environmental destruction with the promise that the habitat can be recreated elsewhere. This is beneficial to the companies doing the damage, since they can present themselves as a company that invests in environmental protection, thereby greenwashing its products and services. It only serves to permit the commodification of nature”.
Beware the jaws that bite, eh?! ;)
Hervan (in Cornish hyr means long and ven means stone) Menhir (in Middle Breton men means stone and hir means long) ….. so “Long Stone Long Stone” ) is situated on the Lizard and once marked the boundary of Predannick moor. Whether it has prehistoric credentials is not clear (so far as we and Google can say) but now it forms what may well be Britain’s best rockery feature in some lucky person’s back garden.
Heritage Daily is an independent online magazine for archaeological and associated disciplines, dedicated to the heritage and historical sector. In a recent feature on hillforts they point out that: “There are around 3,300 structures that can be classed as hillforts or similar “defended enclosures” in Britain” and they present a list of the ten most impressive examples.
The second one on that list is Old Oswestry. They describe it as “one of Britain’s most spectacular and impressive early Iron Age hill forts in the Welsh Marches near Oswestry in north west Shropshire. It remains one of the best preserved hill forts in the UK …. with stunning panoramic views across North Wales, Cheshire and Shropshire.”
The above counts for nothing in planning law – the place is scheduled and has a setting, that’s all. But on the other hand it is something that Oswestry and Shropshire councillors should keep in mind. If they vote to damage the setting in any way they are not damaging something inconsequential that is hidden away unregarded in North Shropshire, but something that is important in both national and world terms.
Let them not delude themselves about the scale of what they would be doing – or that just a small amount of damage wouldn’t matter. Never mind the talk, which of them was elected to put an estate of houses just here? >>>>
A Comment from Trish Farrell:
Well said. Everyone needs to email their concerns to the portfolio holder for Planning at Shropshire Council, Cllr Malcolm Price at: This is also part of a national disgrace the National Planning Policy Framework that is overriding all previous consultations between councils and their constituents over allocations of development land under SAMDev and similar.
NPPF apparently states that if councils do not have a 5 year land supply then any policy they have set down will be overruled by the NPPF’s presumption if favour of development. Shropshire currently has a small short fall which means its Core Strategy policies cannot stand. It seems that Mr Price is as unhappy with this situation as anyone else. He makes this plain in an interview on Radio Shropshire. Go to 2h13m at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01np5y6 to hear his comments.
Then you need email the Minister for Planning Nick Bowles. All this is contributing/underlining the Old Oswestry situation. The NPPF basically opens the door to developers. If they do not get what they want they can threaten councils with judicial reviews which will then mean huge financial penalties at public expense. Since communities all over Shropshire are in uproar over what is happening to them (E.g. Shifnal now earmarked for 1600 houses way beyond what the community agreed with Shropshire Council), you may understand how Shropshire Council’s hands are now tied.
Finally, if you think this is all wrong, write to your MP – wherever you live.
and a Comment from Diana Baur:
Speechless with frustration about the appalling way democracy – if it ever was around – has effectively been binned – and by a coalition government – what hope is there. Can smell the leather of jackboots oozing all over this.