Tunneling the A303 at Stonehenge is the sensible option – John Glen

29 04 2014

Salisbury’s MP says he’ll keep pushing for traffic problems on the A303 next to Stonehenge to be sorted out once and for all.

John Glen’s told Spire FM that there’s only one logical solution:

“There will be enormous battles between environmentalists, locals who want a Article imagesolution to the issue and the National trust who are the land owner around Stonehenge, and a Tunnel will be the safest option to please everyone.”

The Government’s now started a new feasibility study to look into the possible options and are due to make an announcement in the Autumn.

Mr Glen has a message for the Government as they look into what happens next:

“If I was a transport minister, and I wanted to improve transportation links to the South West; which have been particularly important given what we’ve seen happen over this last winter, then I would need to be pretty sure that any measures I put in place, would avoid there being a bottleneck at Stonehenge.”

Meanwhile, ideas to tunnel part of the A303 past Stonehenge have been described as ‘jumping the gun’ by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE).

Kate Fielden from the Wiltshire branch of the CPRE is also secretary of the Stonehenge Alliance – she says there are mixed views on the issue at the moment:

“At the present time, the Stonehenge Alliance feels that there is insufficient evidence to show that it would be justified. I do know though, and the CPRE recognises, that there are problems at Stonehenge, especially at weekends and at holiday times. That’s becoming intolerable really for local people.”

Kate also says the local habitat is key and therefore a tunnel could work:

“It’s difficult when you live close by something to stand back and realise that this whole site is something that is considered internationally to be of the highest significance. I think we have to take the bull by the horns and do a proper job if that is the job that has to be done. It would be completely unthinkable to dual that road on the surface.”

Link sourc: http://www.spirefm.co.uk/news/local-news/1268711/tunneling-the-a303-at-stonehenge-is-the-sensible-option—john-glen/

Stonehenge News Blog





Distracted motorists have most accidents passing Stonehenge

14 09 2012

Distracted motorists have more accidents passing Stonehenge than any other British landmark, a new study found

Be careful driving past Stonehenge. It's the landmark most likely to distract motorists. Photo: Alamy

Be careful driving past Stonehenge. It’s the landmark most likely to distract motorists. Photo: Alamy

Distracted motorists have more accidents passing Stonehenge than any other British landmark, a new study found.

Over a third of drivers, 34 per cent, have had a prang or near miss in the UK as a result of taking their eyes off the road to admire a view.

And an admiring 14 per cent have slammed on the brakes to get a longer look – typically reducing their speed by 27 mph.

Accidents resulting from these distractions cause an average 413.56 pounds of damage each time, the study by insurance firm MORE TH>N found.

A quarter of motorists, 26 per cent, have been distracted by the pre-historic monument of Stonehenge near Amesbury, Wiltshire.

Rubber-neckers there typically take their eyes of the road three times, each for 3.74 seconds.

This mean motorists – doing 40 mph – could drive past for 200 metres without paying attention to the road.

A careless 13 per cent of those who were distracted by Stonehenge have crashed or almost crashed as a result, the study of 2,000 motorists found.

The Angel of the North, in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, is the second most dangerous landmark and the Blackpool Tower, in Lancs, third.

A captivated 18 per cent and 12 per cent of motorists find their eyes drifting towards these sites as they pass.

Just over one in ten of these drivers, 11 per cent, have had or nearly had an accident at these two beauty spots.

The top ten also includes the Scottish Highlands, the House of Parliament, Windsor Castle, Tower Bridge, and Clifton Suspension Bridge.

Cheddar Gorge and Severn Bridge complete the list.

Motorist Jason Richardson, from Southampton, Hants, said he often admires the view as he drives around the country for work.

The sales director, 32, said: “I spend my life on the road visiting customers and it can be incredibly boring looking at miles of tarmac on the motorways.

“So when you see a spectacular view or a landmark you have read about or seen on TV it is hard to keep your eyes on the road.

“I have driven past Stonehenge and the Angel of the North and had to settle for a peek because I didn’t have time to stop.”

Janet Connor, from MORE TH>N, said: “Travel guides, friends and family often encourage us to take the scenic route.

“But until now the perils of admiring the world beyond the windscreen have not been fully explored.

“The UK is blessed with some amazing sights but motorists need to keep their eyes on the road and resist the lure of staring at them while driving.

“To avoid having an accident, park-up and enjoy the view safely.”

Top ten accident hostpots.

1. Stonehenge, Wiltshire

2. Angel of the North, Gateshead

3. Blackpool Tower, Blackpool

4. Scottish Highlands (towards Glencoe)

5. Big Ben/Houses of Parliament, London

6. Windsor Castle, Windsor

7. Tower Bridge, London

8. Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol

9. Cheddar Gorge, Somerset

10. Severn Bridge, Aust-Chepstow

Link Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/archaeology/9540840/Distracted-motorists-have-most-accidents-passing-Stonehenge.html

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Stonehenge: Closure of A344 near monument to go ahead

1 01 2012

Plans to close a main road running past Stonehenge are to go ahead.

An aerial view of Stonehenge without the A344 road

An aerial view of Stonehenge without the A344 road

English Heritage wants to stop traffic from travelling close to the stones and “restore the dignity” of the World Heritage Site by closing the A344.

The road from the A303 at Stonehenge Bottom to west of the visitor centre has already been approved for closure.

Now, following a public inquiry, Wiltshire Council has approved an independent inspector’s report to close the remaining section of road.

In June 2010 the council granted planning permission for a new visitors centre at Airman’s Corner, 1.5 miles (2km) west of Stonehenge.

And in November, roads minister Mike Penning approved plans to close an 879m (2,884ft) section of the A344 from its junction with the A303 at Stonehenge Bottom with a stopping up order.

Byways remain open

Now the council has approved a traffic regulation order (TRO) for the remainder of the A344 to Airman’s Corner.

But proposals to close a number of byways around the ancient monument were refused.

Druid leader King Arthur Pendragon said the inspector’s recommendations and resulting council decision had “erred on the side of common sense”.

“I invited the inspector to recommend a modification to the order be made in that should the stopping up order be placed on the lower section of the A344 the remaining section of the metalled road be restricted by a traffic regulation order as requested.

“And he recommended that the proposed TRO be made with modification to the A344 only, leaving the byways in the World Heritage Site still open to all traffic, as they have been.”

Link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-16352307

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Merlin says “Good news”

Merlin @ Stonehenge





Stonehenge road will close, council confirms

29 12 2011

A ROAD passing by Wiltshire’s most well known landmark will close, it has been confirmed.

Wiltshire Council has accepted the recommendations of planning inspector Alan Boyland to close a section of the A344 to improve the setting of Stonehenge.

The recommendations were made following two public inquiries held earlier this year into English Heritage proposals to return the area to grass as part of plans for a new visitor centre at Airman’s Corner.

The decision comes despite objections from objectors including Orcheston Parish Council and residents who fear extra traffic through the village as a result.

A proposal was also made to close the byways around the ancient monument but this was refused.

Mr Boyland said: “I accept that Wiltshire has a considerably greater length of byways than any other country. This is not however, in itself, a reason for allowing a further loss for recreational motor vehicle users.

“In this case, the loss of a further 7km, particularly given the strategic importance of those routes, and without similar alternative routes being available, would in my view be significantly detrimental to the current users.”

Druid leader King Arthur Pendragon objected to the proposals to close the byways as he said it would be a violation of his human rights not to be able to access the area, particularly during Pagan ceremonies such as celebrations of the solstices and equinox.

However, Mr Pendragon approved of proposals to close part of the A344 to improve the amenity of the area.

The new visitor centre has planning permission and despite funding problems English Heritage hopes it can be completed by 2013

Link: http://www.salisburyjournal.co.uk/news/9435205.Stonehenge_road_will_close__council_confirms/

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Stonehenge News Flash: Stonehenge byways to remain open

22 11 2011

A PLANNING inspector has ruled that byways surrounding Stonehenge will remain open.

The decision follows inquiries into proposals to close the byways as well as parts of the A344 and the inspector has decided that although the road will close, the byways should remain open.

English Heritage plans to return the area to grass as part of plans for a new visitors’ centre at Airman’s Corner.

Planning inspector Alan Boyland said: “I accept that Wiltshire has a considerably greater length of byways than any other county. This is not however, in itself, a reason for allowing a further loss for recreational motor vehicle users.

“In this case, the loss of a further 7km, particularly given the strategic importance of those routes, and without similar alternative routes being available, would in my view be significantly detrimental to the current users.”

At the inquiry, Druid leader King Arthur Pendragon objected to the proposals to close the byways as he said it is a violation of his human rights not to be able to access the area, particularly during Pagan ceremonies such as celebrations of the solstices and equinox.

Mr Pendragon said: “It appears that the inspector has erred on the side of common sense and found himself in agreement with the points made.”

The new visitor centre has got planning permission and despite funding problems English Heritage hopes the it can be completed by 2013.

Article: http://www.salisburyjournal.co.uk/news/salisbury/salisburynews/9378111.Stonehenge_byways_to_remain_open/#commentsList

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Stonehenge most visited tourist spot in South West

17 08 2011

Stonehenge has become the most visited paid-for tourist attraction in the South West.
Stonehenge

Figures from tourist board Visit England show that last year the iconic Wiltshire attraction had more visitors than the Eden Project in Cornwall.

Over 1m people visited the stone circle in 2010, up 1.9% on the previous year.

It is the first time it has surpassed the Eden Project for visitor numbers since the Cornwall tourist attraction opened in 2001.

David Andrews, chief executive for Visit Wiltshire, said: “Stonehenge is a fabulous site and we’re extremely lucky to have it in the county.”
Links: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-14554689

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Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website





Stonehenge news. Seven Wonders of the Ancient World ?

16 08 2011

Stonehenge may not be one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, but that’s probably only because Heroditus never came to Britain. If he came here now, he’d be appalled by the site of the stones – sandwiched as they are between two busy main roads, a car park complete with portaloos, and a visitor centre that makes you wish you were visiting something else.

A “national disgrace” is what a committee of MP’s called it more than a decade ago, and nothing much has changed since then. Until now that is. After years of wrangling over a series of schemes involving tunnels, by-passes and road closures, the Government believes it may finally have a plan that does Stonehenge justice. Others, including several prominent archaeologists, are not so sure and have set up The Stonehenge Alliance to fight the proposals.

When Sir Jocelyn Stevens took the reigns at English Heritage in 1992. He vowed to make Stonehenge his top priority, to “sort out” the mess of roads criss-crossing the site, and the inappropriate and inadequate visitor facilities that had been branded a national disgrace by the Public Accounts Committee:
From the top of the King Barrows Ridge heading south on the A303 it’s easy to see what the problem is. The road itself, and the smaller A344 that forks off to the right, dominate the landscape as the raised bowl in which Stonehenge sits opens out in front of you. The view of the stones is a good one – and is much appreciated by motorists – but it’s hardly an appropriate setting for such an historic monument.

Buried in the down right beside the stones themselves the bunker-like concrete visitor centre, with it’s shop, ticket office, take-away cafe, and portaloos, is little better. Everyone agrees something must be done. The question is what?

Earlier plans, for a 4 kilometre tunnel bored under the entire site were rejected by the then Conservative government in 1996 on the grounds of cost. The current proposal, the “master plan” as it’s called, is backed by both English Heritage and the National Trust which owns much of the land. The idea is to bury the A303 in a 2 kilometre cut-and-cover tunnel, to close and green-over the A344, and to re-locate and improve the visitor facilities at a site outside the boundary of the World Heritage Site:

Kate Fielden, is a founding member of the Stonehenge Alliance. The problem with the master plan is that a shorter tunnel, although missing the stones, would both start and finish well within the boundaries of the wider World Heritage Site. Opting for cut and cover construction rather than a bored tunnel would more than halve the cost, but means digging up the ground along its entire length. An act of archaeological vandalism the alliance says beggars belief:

And the Stonehenge Alliance is not alone. In July ICOMOS, the International Council on Monuments and Sites, urged the Government to “pay due regard to the World Heritage Site as a whole, and not just that part closest to the stones”. And now even the National Trust’s support for the scheme is under attack from within. A motion before this month’s AGM calls on the charity to abandon its position. The Trust’s Mark Harold accepts the master plan is far from perfect, but he believes, its a good compromise:

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Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website








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