Historic England’s Heritage Planning Case Database is seriously good. It enables amateurs to do what the professionals do (or should) which is to use planning decisions in one place as a guide to how the law should be interpreted in another.

Planning database.

It’s a work in progress and it doesn’t yet contain cases about hill forts but I did come across this, an application to build 59 houses on land at Partridge Green, West Sussex which will be kind of familiar to people in Oswestry (especially paragraph 53, see below, it’s enough to make you weep) – apart from the Inspector’s decision to refuse permission! Incidentally the people of Oswestry might care to note that in West Sussex there had been the usual blather about affordable housing yet the application included only 4 one bedroomed apartments and 35 three, four and five bedroomed houses. (A five bedder round there would cost you about £1.3 million).

Anyway, here are some bits of the Inspector’s report that will ring a lot of bells of regret in Oswestry. Life just ain’t fair if you’re a Salopian monument with a quite extraordinary, aberrant Council. We’ve already suggested Oswestry hill fort would be safe in West Oxfordshire. Looks like that could also be true if it was in West Sussex.

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53. The intensity of the proposed development, concentrated within the frontage field, would obliterate any sense of openness or recognition of a transitional approach from the hard urban edge of the village to a softer more compromising understanding of the setting of the heritage assets and their significance.

76. Sustainable development is about change for the better. The appeal proposal would assist in the provision of much needed housing in the local area and District in general. This is a highly significant material consideration and carries substantial weight in the context of paragraph 49 of the Framework. It would also have a social and economic role to play in achieving positive growth now and into the future.

77. However, such benefits would be at significant cost to the intrinsic character of the countryside and its green, open, pastoral appearance; and would not preserve the setting of the listed buildings, thereby unacceptably harming their significance…..

78. The presumption in favour of sustainable development set out in paragraph 14 of the Framework applies only to sustainable development. Taking this conclusion into account along with all other considerations set out above, including the contribution of the proposal to addressing the shortfall in housing supply, on balance, I conclude that the adverse impacts of the appeal proposal would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits of granting planning permission. Therefore, the appeal should fail.

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Update:

A comment just made by Dr George Nash….

Dear Team, I have just asked the Chairman of West Sussex Council if Old Oswestry Hillfort and its surrounding landscape can be incorporated into West Sussex. We want this ancient site to be administered by a useful, honest and progressive cultural heritage team; West Sussex has said…..YES. Archaeologists and the general public please be aware that Old Oswestry Hillfort and its surrounding landscape is NOW part of West Sussex. [Dismal] Shropshireland you have been a disgrace to this and other heritage assets including the demolition of the only remaining purpose-built Telford-A5 tollhouse and the threat of damage/destruction to sections of Offa’s Dyke at Trefonen – time to go back to the drawing board and rebuild the confidence of the general public. The message from us West Sussex people to the planning officers and elected members of [Dismal] Shropshireland is…..GET LOST.

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