Diana Baur, (one of the  Oswestry campaigners)  sent us a comment yesterday that reminded us of The Story of Little Suck-a-Thumb….

The great tall tailor always comes
To little boys that suck their thumbs.
And ere they dream what he’s about
He takes his great sharp scissors
And cuts their thumbs clean off, – and then
You know, they never grow again.

Mamma had scarcely turn’d her back,
The thumb was in, alack! alack!
The door flew open, in he ran,
The great, long, red-legged scissorman.
Oh! children, see! the tailor’s come
And caught our little Suck-a-Thumb.

Snip! Snap! Snip! the scissors go;
And Conrad cries out – Oh! Oh! Oh!
Snip! Snap! Snip! They go so fast;
That both his thumbs are off at last.
Mamma comes home; there Conrad stands,
And looks quite sad, and shows his hands;-
“Ah!” said Mamma “I knew he’d come
To naughty little Suck-a-Thumb.”

It seems likely that if we all suck our thumbs the scissor man WILL cut off part of Oswestry Hill Fort’s setting.  Snip snap snip!  And it will never grow back. As Diana makes clear ….

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The “Jaws” of development snapping all around us! Snapping everywhere unfettered in all directions because, as Owen Paterson [who is Oswestry’s  MP and also Government’s Environment Secretary!] has again re-iterated in a second letter to me, in respect of the Old Oswestry Hillfort , and I quote: “I know just how important this issue is. I hope you will understand that neither Minister nor Government officials can intervene or comment on individual planning applications because of Ministers’ quasi-judicial role in the system”.

So what in heaven’s name actually IS his, or ARE ministers’ roles??
In respect of the Old Oswestry Hillfort we are not yet talking about a planning application, we are talking about whether or not the hillfort setting will be allowed to be desecrated in the SAMDEV process which involves satisfying Government targets on covering this land with ticky tacky 4 and 5 bedroom houses in prestigious places kick-starting the economy through the housing market and charging onwards into a housing boom bubble and bust that will mean first time buyers are even less likely to be able to afford to buy one.

We are now being invited by Shropshire Planning department to submit our views on the SAMDEV process a second time round via the Shropshire Council Website, but expressly to comment on the “soundness” of the idea of using the hillfort setting for housing development. It’s patently unsound on all fronts, but we are still waiting to hear what exactly they mean by “soundness” – it’s Alice in Wonderland talk where you will think you have answered the question, but will be hauled over the coals by the Red Queen for not so doing because you have no “understanding” of the question.

I looked up the definition of “sound” and the adjectives, of which there are many and include:

1. free from damage, injury, decay, etc
2. firm; solid; substantial: a sound basis
3. financially safe or stable: a sound investment
4. showing good judgment or reasoning; sensible; wise: sound advice
5. valid, logical, or justifiable: a sound argument
6. holding approved beliefs; ethically correct; upright; honest
7. (of sleep) deep; peaceful; unbroken
8. thorough; complete: a sound examination
9. informal ( Brit ) excellent
10. law (of a title, etc) free from defect; legally valid
11. constituting a valid and justifiable application of correct principles; orthodox: sound theology
12. logic
a. (of a deductive argument) valid
b. (of an inductive argument) according with whatever principles ensure the high probability of the truth of the conclusion given the truth of the premises
c. another word for consistent

From my point of view building on the setting of the Old Oswestry Hillfort is a completely unsound idea on all fronts.