In 2010 a campaign group called OS21 was set up to campaign against four planning applications for supermarkets in Oswestry.
The land on the Old Smithfield on Shrewsbury Road in Oswestry was due to be developed into a 16-acre complex with a five-screen cinema, Morrisons supermarket, Frankie and Benny’s and McDonald’s restaurants. However plans were shelved in early 2016 after Cineworld pulled out of the development and Morrisons, who lease the land from the town council, expressed concerns about an Aldi store being built on a nearby site.
Town councillors want a review of Shropshire Council’s planning policy after the decision to build Aldi – and demolish a 200-year-old toll house – was passed by unelected planning officers. Oswestry Town Council will write to Greg Clark MP, the minister for communities and local government, with its concerns.
Morrison's remains committed but has said uncertainties with Cineworld's plans could put development at risk.
A Government planning inspector threw out an appeal from developers JT Hughes and Guttercrest. Planning inspector Robin Brooks said Shropshire Council was right to refuse planning permission for a food-only store on a site in Victoria Road owned by car firm JT Hughes and guttering firm Guttercrest.
Despite planning officers recommending approval for timber firm Richard Burbidge Ltd’s plans to build a Tesco store, filling station, cinema and leisure facilities at the company’s Whittington Road site but Shropshire councillors rejected the Burbidge bid as well as a joint bid by JT Hughes and Guttercrest to build a store in Victoria Road. They instead favoured a bid to build a store, cinema, restaurants and offices on the Smithfield livestock site in Shrewsbury Road.
The supermarket applications were considered at a meeting of Shropshire Council’s Strategic Planning Committee. Planning officers recommended that the town centre scheme should be approved but the Committee did not agree and it was turned down. Decisions on the other three schemes have been deferred because councillors felt they did not have enough information.
Shropshire Council met to discuss the four supermarket applications but decided to defer all four applications to a later date. Planning officers are recommending that two or the four applications are ruled out and that Councillors only consider plans for a supermarket on the town's Central car park or on the Richard Burbidge site.
OS21 sent out 7,500 leaflets to Oswestry homes. The leaflets set out reasons for objecting to the supermarket applications and also included a tear-off objection letter.