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We continue our trip around some Cornish hamlets with a visit to Tregeare in the parish of Egloskerry.

Tregeare was recorded in 1416 as ‘’Tregayr’ translating from the Cornish language ‘tre ger’ meaning ‘farm by a fort’. From this, we can conclude that the name probably derives from the hillslope enclosure to the north of the farmstead at Tregeare Rounds.

Tregeare Rounds, once recorded as ‘Dameliock Castle’ with this being a false name, was excavated in 1902 by S Baring-Gould.

This excavation suggested that human occupation was restricted to the area between the two main ramparts where finds consisted mainly of slingstones, perforated stones, spindle whorls and pre-Roman pottery.

The terminals of the innermost bank are raised up, presumably providing vantage points for those overseeing the herding of cattle in the centre of the fort. This seems to have been the purpose for which these hillslope forts were designed, probably dating from the second and first century BC.

Tregeare Rounds was surveyed by the Ordnance Survey in 1976 and comprises two sub-circular univallate and concentric enclosures totalling six and three-quarter acres, and on the eastern side, a five feet high scarp forming a curvilinear outwork encompassing a further three and a quarter acres.

The inner enclosure, of 295 feet internal diameter has a bank which averages six foot six inches high and a pitch up to six feet deep, with an overall width of just over 39 feet.

The outer enclosure of 558 feet internal diameter is much stronger; its rampart averages 10 feet high, the ditch six feet deep and the overall width exceeds 65 feet.

In the southeast a sunken way across the interspace of the outwork leads to simple entrances through the main and inner ramparts though in each case a low scarp extends across the gap. The relationship of this sunken way to the outwork is uncertain and complicated by the construction of a field bank.

In the north the outer ditch incorporates one shallow causeway which may be the result of ‘gangwork’; other interruptions appear to have occurred through agricultural activity and the 1902 excavations.

A Cornish ‘hull’ is excavated into the side of one of the outer ramparts of Tregeare Rounds. This is described as an “adit 51ft long 5ft wide and 6ft high”, with soil from the excavation placed some distance away.

Cornish historian Michael Tangye describes hulls being used for underground storage of potatoes, cheese and other foodstuffs.

At one time Tregeare Rounds became associated with Arthurian legends:

The Arthurian associations of Castle Killibury stem from attempts to discover the location of Kelli wic, the name given in both Culhwch ac Olwen and Trioedd Ynys Prydein to Arthur’s residence in Cornwall. In 1900 Castle Killibury was suggested as Kelli wic for three main reasons: firstly that a hill-fort would be the most appropriate identification; secondly that the names Kelli wic and Killibury are similar; and thirdly because it was near Tregeare Rounds. This last argument is the one that tipped the balance in favour of this site, when the name alone gave it no better case to be Kelli wic than, say, Callington and Calliwith. This argument is, however, false.

See http://www.arthuriana.co.uk/n&q/artharch.htm

With thanks to Myghal Map Serpren.

Trencrom Hill in West Penwith, Cornwall was recorded as ‘Torcrobm’ in 1758 from the Cornish ‘tor crom’ (in later Cornish ‘crobm’ because as in all other languages, evolution of a tongue occurs) meaning ‘hunched bulge’ with tor meaning quite literally ‘belly’. Learn more about the Cornish language, Kernewek here.

Finds of Neolithic axes on the slopes of the hill indicate that the hilltop was occupied during that era and it may be that the massive wall surrounding the flattish summit originated then, to be reused and strengthened during the Iron Age. This wall is up to 2.5 metres high on its external side and makes full use of the many natural granite outcrops. The fort is roughly pear-shaped in plan, 137 metres by 91 metres and there is a pair of fine entrances facing east and west with granite gate jambs. Trencrom provides superb coastal views; to the Northeast across the Hayle estuary and up to Godrevy Point, and to the South across Mounts Bay and St Michael’s Mount.

A number of circular features can be traced in the interior. Three are Bronze Age cairns and there are six round house platforms in the southern part of the enclosure. Other circular features are prospecting pits. Finds of pottery show Iron Age occupation from the 3rd century BC and that the site was well used well into the post-Roman period perhaps as late as the 8th or 9th century AD.

In folklore, the hill was the lair of Trecobben the giant. Trecobben is best remembered as the friend of Cormoran, who lived on St Michael’s Mount, and whose wife Cormelian he accidentally killed. Another legend speaks of games that they played, throwing rocks across to each other – the Bowl Rock at the northern base on Trencrom being one such rock that missed its target and rolled away.  

Various attempts at tin mining have taken place on/under the hill, known as the Wheal Cherry sett, between the mid-1800s and early 1900s. None were particularly successful.

The hill was presented to the National Trust by Lt Col C L Tyringham, of Trevethoe in March 1946, his wish being that it was to be regarded as a memorial to the men and women of Cornwall, who gave their lives in the service of their country during the two world wars, 1914 – 1918, 1939 – 1945. A plaque on the hill commemorates this fact.

With thanks to Myghal Map Serpren.

Caer Bran is an Iron Age hillfort, located near the village of Sancreed in West Penwith, Cornwall. The site encloses a space some 200 feet in diameter. Surrounding this is a ditch forty-five feet wide and seven feet deep, an earthen rampart fifteen feet high with stone revetment and a slight counterscarp outer bank. There are remnants of a stone-lined causeway over the ditch at the original entrance to the North West adjacent to an ancient trackway. There are three Bronze Age ring cairns within the outer ramparts, and three settlements within half a mile, including Carn Euny.  

The Cornwall Heritage Trust have recently announced that they have purchased nine hectares of land at Caer Bran, which includes the hillfort and a range of later agricultural and mining remains.

The Chariman of CHT, Lt Col Richard Trant announced:

“The Trust has been tracking the Caer Bran property for many years and we were hugely excited when it came back on the market over the Christmas period. It is therefore tremendously pleasing that we have now secured this very special site for the future.

Caer Bran is a property which, as an example of Iron Age presence in Cornwall, has great archaeological importance. Equally, it gives sanctuary to some wonderful flora and fauna, our natural heritage, that the Trust will also protect and nurture. 

Caer Bran is a jewel of a site which complements our adjacent sites in West Penwith. Its purchase aligns perfectly with our recently reviewed strategic purpose to protect and preserve Cornish heritage sites for ‘One and All’. I would like to thank the CHT team for their hard work to secure Caer Bran and also a big thank you to Historic England for their potential support of this Cornish gem.”

We last visited Caer Bran in 2013, and you can read about our visit here.

After a two-year silence, developers are mounting a fourth bid to build housing in the landscape setting of one of Britain’s pre-eminent Iron Age hillforts.

Since being allocated in Shropshire’s local plan (SAMDev) in 2015, land near the hillfort known as OSW004 has faced a succession of planning applications and revisions, each attracting substantial and sustained opposition both locally and nationally.

Campaigners say that although housing numbers have seen a slight reduction, from 91 to 83, the latest scheme still constitutes ‘major development’ within the near setting of a scheduled monument. They claim that an even greater proportion of dwellings would exceed, either wholly or partly, the northern limit for new buildings that was agreed between Shropshire Council and Historic England as a condition of the site’s allocation for housing.

A change in ownership rights affecting access across the railway line also prevents the application complying with special conditions for development. 

Substantial harm

Campaign group HOOOH (Hands Off Old Oswestry Hillfort) insists that the revised application does nothing to mitigate what would be substantial harm to the setting and significance of the hillfort. They argue that Old Oswestry is a scheduled monument of great national importance, meaning that any development within the setting can cause substantial harm in contravention of planning law. English Heritage has described Old Oswestry as ‘one of the greatest archaeological monuments of the nation’. 

“We are at a frightening tipping point in Old Oswestry’s 3000-year history,”  HOOOH said.

“The proposals threaten a new direction of town growth that will devastate the hillfort’s surviving but fragile setting, after we have held Oswestry’s urban edge at a respectful and protective distance for generations.

“Housing will obliterate one of the best views of the hillfort for visitors approaching Oswestry from the east, leading to substantial harm to the heritage significance of the monument by destroying appreciation and understanding of the hillfort in its landscape setting as seen from this important vista.

“The town’s northern development boundary will creep ever closer to the hillfort to make way for this out-of-place housing, eroding the hillfort’s rural setting and devaluing its status and visual dominance in the landscape.

“More worrying still, it will give a potential foothold for further construction that will side-line the hillfort as the Oswestry Growth Corridor takes shape along the bypass.”

High quality agricultural land

Classed as greenfield and high quality (Grade 2/3a) agricultural land, OSW004 was originally allocated because the public benefits to meet housing targets were judged to outweigh the detrimental impacts on one of Britain’s archaeological jewels. But HOOOH says new targets have been scaled back in the forthcoming SAMDev revision, and more than sufficient land has been identified elsewhere to accommodate long-term housing growth in Oswestry.

“The over-ambitious housing targets and over-stated need for housing land that were the main imperative to build seven years ago no longer exist,” HOOOH continues.

“The push to develop now is purely down to a housebuilder keen to capitalise on the site’s very saleable proximity to a sleepy, green hillfort despite the devastating impacts on world-class heritage and on a landscape highly valued by the community. We trust the planning committee will see sense and throw it out.”

Campaigners point out that planning consent for housing just a short distance along from OSW004 on Whittington Road was recently refused because it would add to traffic congestion and safety issues at the junction with Gobowen Road.

HOOOH said: “An estate of 83 houses at OSW004 would make these traffic problems considerably worse. Joined up planning is needed to see that OSW004 is the wrong location for Oswestry’s sustainable development due to the disconnect with schools and shops, the additional traffic congestion, and the inappropriate use of land of high heritage and agricultural value.”

Dominate the landscape

Iron Age hillforts were strategically located to dominate the landscape and signpost tribal territory and power. Often referred to as the Stonehenge of the Iron Age, Old Oswestry ranks among the most impressive of Britain’s prehistoric sites. This is due to the earthwork’s unique and complex design, the extent to which the monument and surrounding landscape have been preserved, and their importance to our understanding of Iron Age society.

The historic farming landscape around the hillfort contributes greatly to how we experience Old Oswestry in its setting and how we can appreciate its heritage significance. This landscape is, therefore, an integral part of the safeguarding and conservation of the scheduled monument.

The housing bid has consistently met with mass objections from the public, local stakeholders, and influential national heritage bodies including the CBA (Council for British Archaeology), RESCUE (the British Archaeological Trust) and The Prehistoric Society.

High profile academics and media figures have also voiced their support for the campaign including Professor Alice Roberts, Professor Michael Wood, Professor Mary Beard, Bettany Hughes, Dan Snow, Tom Holland, Francis Pryor of Channel 4 Time Team fame, and the author Cressida Cowell. The campaign was also featured on Griff Rhys Jones’ ITV series, Griff’s Great Britain. 

The public deadline for representations to the planning application (reference   20/01033/EIA) is February 9. Full details can be found at https://tinyurl.com/44m38rna

HOOOH says that if anyone encounters problems making representations via Shropshire Council’s planning portal, they can email them to: planning.northern@shropshire.gov.uk

More information on the 10-year debacle over development in Old Oswestry’s setting can be viewed at www.oldowestryhillfort.co.uk

This beautiful old cross stands inside St Dennis churchyard in Cornwall.

St Dennis Cross as photographed on 24th July, 2021

The cross is found beside the main path, approached from the southern entrance through large double wrought iron gates, to the south porch of the church. The cross has a decorated wheel-head and shaft set into a circular base.

The base measures three feet in diameter and a foot high, and the cross stands to six feet six inches high overall. All four sides of the shaft are highly ornamented, and the head is a more unusual horseshoe shape.

It was recorded by Langdon in 1896 as an ornamented Celtic cross:

St Dennis church stands within an ancient dynas (dinas)  fort on a prominent hilltop south of the A30 and Goss Moor. The village of St Dennis, home to many workers in the local industry – china clay – covers the hillside below it to the south and east. Due north is Castle-an-Dinas, well-marked from the A30, and sited about the same distance north from that trunk road as St Dennis dinas is south of it.

According to the late Craig Weatherhill, a recognised expert in Cornish toponymy:

“St Dennis church named not after the saint, but the ‘dynas’, the Cornish word for fort, stands in the centre of this site, the name of which might have been ‘Din Milioc’ meaning ‘Milioc’s Fort’ and recorded in 1284. This strikingly conical hill was formerly surmounted by two Iron Age ramparts defending an area 113m in diameter. The line of the inner bank, which may have been stone-built, is followed by the churchyard wall. Only faint traces of the outer rampart can be seen, on the north and east sides, about 18m beyond the churchyard wall.”

“The nearby place name Domellick suggests that the St Dennis hill fort was the Castle Dameliock defended by Duke Gorlois of Cornwall against Uther Pendragon’s force the night Arthur was conceived at Tintagel, according to Geoffrey of Monmouth 12th century account.”

The Genuki.org.uk website states:

“It is named after St Denys the Martyr, although as the church is on a hill top, the name may be a corruption of the Cornish word Dinas, meaning ‘Hill Fort’. Dimilioc represents a smaller hillfort inland 20 miles south of Tintagel now occupied by the parish church of St Dennis – it is within an estate listed as Dimelihoc in the Domesday Book of 1086. In the reign of Henry VIII, St Denys was the only parish in Cornwall with the prefix ‘Saint’.”

With thanks to Myghal Map Serpren for the above account.

The latest Press Release from the Hands Off Old Oswestry Hillfort campaigners:

– Historic England deals late blow to community’s 8-year fight to save the setting of one of Britain’s outstanding Iron Age hillforts from housing development –

Campaigners are up in arms at news that Historic England has relaxed its concerns over development in the historic landscape of Old Oswestry hillfort on the Shropshire/Wales border.

Illustration (c) John Swogger ‘With Friends Like These’

The government’s statutory heritage consultee is currently advising on a planning application by Galliers Homes for 91 houses in the near setting of the 3,000-year-old Iron Age monument.

The outcry comes as Historic England’s representation appeared on Shropshire Council’s planning portal just hours before the close of public consultation (on April 21). The current application is the third set of plans in 12 months to be submitted by Berrys, the planning agent, prompting floods of objections each time.

“Historic England’s response raises far more questions than it answers,” said campaign group, HOOOH, which has produced a 10-page document criticising the content. “They are sanctioning proposals that do not comply with their own criteria and guidance. This includes conditions in a Statement of Common Ground signed with Shropshire Council in 2014 that allowed this highly controversial site to be adopted in Shropshire’s SAMDev local plan.”

Campaigners say the heritage body is backing down on key requirements, including a northern development limit to ensure houses do not extend beyond the line of an adjacent factory.

HOOOH said: “We seek proper clarification from Historic England as to why they are not keeping to these criteria. The northern limit they stipulated for built development is a clearly defined threshold, not something to negotiate with the applicant on the basis that proposals achieve partial compliance.”

The group’s exposé also criticises a lack of rigour and transparency over archaeological evidence, heritage impact assessments and photomontages submitted by the developer.

HOOOH says that Historic England’s representation is a complete abdication of duty, summed up in the heritage body’s comment: ‘This latest proposal is an improvement on previous ones, partly because it more fully complies with the Statement of Common Ground.’ Campaigners are also concerned that pressure may have been put on Shropshire Council’s archaeology and conservation team, whose representation, published a week after the consultation deadline, essentially defers to Historic England’s views.

“This is just not good enough,” HOOOH said. “Historic England, whose remit is to safeguard our shared national heritage, has a duty to ensure that any proposal wholly complies with the agreed conditions. They should be far more rigorous: a unique hillfort and archaeological landscape are at stake here.

Campaigners say they are shocked that Historic England has failed to object to proposals that would constitute substantial harm to a scheduled monument from development within its setting, as defined in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

“This has removed the main obstacle to planners approving the application, as it would be very difficult for Shropshire Council to justify approval against Historic England’s objection,” HOOOH said. “It is now up to our elected representatives on Shropshire Council’s planning committee to follow the democratic wish and refuse permission.”

Campaigners continued: ”Historic England has retreated from having serious concerns over the heritage impacts of the proposed development and is now parroting the developer’s statement about distances between the hillfort and proposed development, as if these are acceptable boundaries. They offer no explanation as to why these distances, which form no part of the Statement of Common Ground, are significant and carry weight for accepting development.

“This goes against Historic England’s own advice, principles and spirit of heritage protection regarding the setting of heritage assets, in particular those classified as designated heritage assets. It also goes against the principles for evaluating harm to heritage assets and their setting within the NPPF.

“Apart from the immediate damaging consequences for Old Oswestry, an exceptional type site for Iron Age understanding, this could set a very dangerous planning precedent for developers to ravage heritage landscapes integral to the story and experience of ancient monuments across England.”

HOOOH added: “Can we actually rely on Historic England to apply their own guidance on setting, which is a lifeline in protecting our fragile heritage? Throughout our campaign, HOOOH has witnessed double standards based on a weakened planning process that promises, but has scant regard for, public consultation and localism. It also appears to have allowed a statutory consultee to be manipulated during private meetings and by developer-led literature, which plays down the value of the heritage, that is, our heritage!”

Attention

Old Oswestry’s plight has attracted attention from around the world, prompting a 12,000-signature petition and support from national heritage organisations and leading academics including Michael Wood, Alice Roberts, Mary Beard, Dan Snow and Tom Holland.

The 3,000-year-old hillfort is widely referred to as ‘The Stonehenge of the Iron Age’ for its unique design and pivotal importance together with its hinterland landscape for the understanding of Iron Age society.

HOOOH said: “The local community, which has fought so long and passionately to protect Old Oswestry, is distraught that its hillfort could be both the victim of and a precedent for a new age of legalised heritage vandalism. We have consistently pointed out how Caerau hillfort in South Wales has been surrounded by urban housing. We are desperate that the relevant authorities wake up to the real dangers that this application near Old Oswestry would bring to the setting of the scheduled monument.

“Historic England has let us down. During the long eight years of this campaign, we put our trust in them as our heritage protectors, even when at times their choices went against our instincts. Now, at the eleventh hour, we feel angry that they have not stood their ground as set out in their agreement with Shropshire Council that should only permit development if it meets all criteria. Instead, they have engaged in closed-door negotiations with the developer and Shropshire Council and, ultimately, their decisions could be the thin end of the wedge to the gradual destruction of Old Oswestry’s setting from long-term town expansion.”

The group added: “The hillfort land allocation was approved in SAMDev back in 2014 under the pressure of meeting over-ambitious housing targets and 5-year housing land supply and because, we were told, there were no other viable locations.

“Five years on, the planning imperative for this most unpopular of development sites has been substantially weakened. The County’s 5-year housing land supply is in surplus and housing numbers for Oswestry are being majorly scaled back in the local plan review to 2036, while many potential new sites have come forward including a project to unlock land for around 1000 homes.”

HOOOH says that local housing delivery has recently been boosted after the green light was given to 600 homes on the Oswestry Eastern Sustainable Urban Extension (SUE). The group also points out that the sustainability criteria supporting the allocation of OSW004 in 2014 have been seriously undermined by a change in legal status of the Cambrian Line to an operating railway, effectively preventing access across and along the track for pedestrian and cycle access.

According to Shropshire Council’s planning portal, objections to the hillfort site (as of 1 May 2020) have reached over 250. The planning application can be viewed by searching the reference 20/01033/EIA at: https://pa.shropshire.gov.uk/online-applications/

The public can still submit comments via email to: planning.northern@shropshire.gov.uk

HOOOH’s rebuttal can be found at www.oldowestryhillfort.co.uk


There is also an excellent analysis of the Historic England approval on the Pipeline web site.

The renowned academic, Professor Dame Mary Beard, has added her voice to nationwide concerns over major development in Old Oswestry hillfort’s historical setting.

The Much Wenlock born classics professor, writer and TV presenter is among numerous celebrities who have been reacting on social media to Galliers Homes’ proposals for 91 houses as the consultation deadline approaches.

Others include the academic and TV personality, Professor Alice Roberts, Francis Pryor of Channel 4 Time Team fame, as well as John Challis, Boycie from Only Fools and Horses, and Viv and Ralf from Channel 4’s Gogglebox. The award-winning author and Waterstones Children’s Laureate, Cressida Cowell, also tweeted her support.

The social media activity saw a surge in objections, which Shropshire Council’s planning office confirmed caused temporary problems for some people submitting comments online, according to campaign group HOOOH.

Oswestry Town Council, Cambrian Heritage Railways and OBHAG (Oswestry & Border Archaeology & History Group) are among local stakeholders maintaining their opposition. Influential national heritage bodies have also objected, including the CBA (Council for British Archaeology), RESCUE (the British Archaeological Trust) and The Prehistoric Society.

Heritage experts insist that development will damage Old Oswestry’s landscape setting and harm its significance contrary to national planning rules. The proposals also contravene Shropshire Council’s local plan policy, with half of the development extending beyond Historic England’s stated northern limit.

In Professor Alice Roberts’ objection on Shropshire Council’s website, she states: “Old Oswestry Hillfort is one of the best preserved hill forts in Britain. The proposed plan exceeds existing limits to development, and fundamentally fails to respect both the national importance of this site and its importance to local people. The development would have an irreversible impact on this very important piece of our national heritage.”

A spokesperson for HOOOH said: “The Inspector’s criteria for rubberstamping this land allocation six years ago in Shropshire’s SAMDev plan have fundamentally changed. Oswestry’s targets for annual housing delivery are being scaled back, while changes concerning the legal status of the adjacent Cambrian line as an operating railway prevent the development from meeting key sustainability criteria on pedestrian and cycle access.

“New studies reaffirming the high value of the landscape around the hillfort north of Oswestry have seen Shropshire Council rule out any further allocations within this most sensitive of areas in their local plan review to 2036. The slim justification for housing that councillors and the Inspector were led to believe in 2014 no longer stands, and the site should simply not be developed.

“The masterplan for the current application entirely fails to meet Historic England’s requirements on the northern limit for building and acceptable design, and therefore Shropshire’s northern planning committee has compelling grounds to refuse permission.”

These are the third set of plans to be submitted by Galliers Homes within a year, prompting huge opposition each time. Objections on the planning portal (as of 19 April 2020) have reached almost 200, exceeding total objections to each of the previous and subsequently withdrawn submissions.

The 3,000-year-old hillfort is widely referred to as ‘The Stonehenge of the Iron Age’ for its unique design and pivotal importance together with its landscape for the understanding of Iron Age society.

The deadline for public comments is today (April 20). People can view the planning application and make representations by searching 20/01033/EIA via the link: https://pa.shropshire.gov.uk/online-applications/

HOOOH said: “If people experience problems registering and submitting comments on the planning portal, we recommend that they email them instead to:  planning.northern@shropshire.gov.uk.”

Further information on the 8-year planning wrangle over Old Oswestry’s setting and issues concerning development is available at www.oldowestryhillfort.co.uk

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the recent deadline for objections to the latest planning application at Oswestry Hillfort was delayed by 2 weeks. This expires next week, and the Hands Off Old Oswestry Hillfort (HOOOH) campaign have issued another press release, calling for one last push from objectors to help save the hillfort and its hinterland:

Campaigners make final stand as deadline looms to save hillfort’s landscape

Campaigners are urging people to unite one more time to protect Old Oswestry hillfort’s historic setting as an 8-year fight over development reaches a climax.

The call comes as campaign group HOOOH releases guidance on objecting to Galliers Homes’ latest planning application (20/01033/EIA) to build 91 houses in the hillfort’s near landscape. The final deadline for comments is Thursday 16 April. Full details of the planning application can be viewed on the Shropshire Council website at: www.shropshire.gov.uk/planning/

Among objections raised by HOOOH is that the proposal:

  • exceeds Historic England’s northern limit for development, with an estimated 40% of the built form lying outside it.
  • does not proportionately account for the very high national significance of Old Oswestry, with a resulting underestimation of the degree of harm from the OSW004 development on the hillfort’s setting and on its significance. The development proposal assesses that only ‘some’ harm will be caused, including harming 11% of views to/from the hillfort – this is ‘substantial’ given the hillfort’s national significance while representing only part of the harm/impacts. A photo montage visualising the development submitted by the developer suggests there will be a far more harmful visual impact.
  • fails to meet the SAMDev Oswestry S14.1a policy requirement for ‘pedestrian and cyclepath links to the former railway and a new footpath link between Whittington Road and Gobowen Road to improve access towards the Hill Fort’. The applicants concede in their planning statement that there are significant material issues, raised in a previous objection by the Cambrian Heritage Railways, in providing access to Gobowen Road across the railway line. Therefore, the proposal fails to deliver a key requirement of the S141a policy and fails to provide a major public benefit that gave weight to the case for the OSW004 allocation.

HOOOH goes on to say:

“Exactly eight years since major development by Old Oswestry was first proposed, we are asking for your support once more in opposing the latest bid to build houses in the hillfort’s immediate hinterland landscape.

“This third planning application, for 91 houses, is still as large and as damaging to the significance and experience of this outstanding Iron Age hillfort and its setting as previous ones.

“Be warned:  this is likely to be our final chance to stop this widely opposed and unnecessary development. It will have very tangible, negative and irreversible impacts on a nationally important heritage landscape – entirely senseless when Oswestry has alternative sites for housing.

“We know these are hugely challenging times; we are all very rightly prioritising the protection of our families and livelihoods through this devastating COVID-19 pandemic. As you stay safe and maximise time at home, we hope you will find time to stay with this fight in protecting this fascinating hillfort and special landscape, ‘The Stonehenge of the Iron Age’. These places of calm, escape and connection with our ancestors and nature will be all the more valuable to us when we come through this awful crisis.

“While we are striving to safeguard family and friends in our community from this dangerous virus, let’s make sure that ruinous planning under cover of a national crisis does not usher through development that we have passionately opposed for almost a decade.”

HOOOH’s guidance can be found at www.oldoswestryhillfort.co.uk

As mentioned recently, the latest deadline for objections to the most recent planning application at Old Oswestry Hillfort expires in two days time (April 2nd).

As of last night, less than 30 objections have been registered, but it’s hoped this will increase with last-minute submissions in the two days remaining.

If you’ve not yet submitted your own objection, the Hands Off Old Oswestry Hillfort (HOOH) group have put together a handy guide with suggestions for inclusion in your submission.

As one protester has stated:

Hillforts were built to stand guard and benevolently look out over their surrounding territory and protect it from intruders. They were also designed to be looked up to from that territory with reverence and respect. So it would be a great tragedy if you were to allow this very intrusive planning application as it is much too close and would seriously damage the historical and aesthetic setting of the hillfort.

As mentioned last Friday, the developers at Oswestry recently withdrew two plans to build upon the site.

But as anticipated, a further plan has been introduced in its place, as the latest newsletter from the Hands Off Old Oswestry Hillfort (HOOOH) campaign explains:

April 2nd is the deadline to object to yet another revised development bid in Old Oswestry’s near landscape.

This 3rd one (for 91 houses) is still as big and as damaging to the significance of this outstanding Iron Age hillfort and its setting as all previous ones. Be warned that the 18 or so days left to object are likely to be the very final countdown to have your say – this latest application comes with an actual deadline date for determination (July 1st).

The new planning application and object can be seen here.

Planning reference: 20/01033/EIA, Land To The North Of Whittington Road, Oswestry, Shropshire. Proposed residential development of 91 No. dwellings with associated access, public open space, electricity sub-station, drainage and landscaping.

Please be aware:

  • Fields shared with/next to the proposed land (OSW004) have been protected from housing development in the local plan review to 2036 due to their heritage importance as part of the hillfort’s setting. OSW004 would also meet these criteria if it had not been controversially allocated back in 2015 – it stands out like a sore thumb as an unnecessary and wrong place for housing.
  • Additional land has been identified for housing east of the bypass at Park Hall, keeping town growth away from the hillfort.
  • Oswestry has received funding to help unlock yet more land for over 1,150 new houses in the next 10 years.
  • Oswestry’s delivery target for housing is 90/year, including a proportion of affordable houses. Almost 100 affordable homes alone have been built in 2017/2018. There is no need to encroach into the hillfort’s landscape.

With only two weeks left for objections to be lodged, our supporters are urged to object via the http://www.shropshire.gov/planning website, as soon as possible. Further details of how best to formulate an objection will be released soon.


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