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31 December 2006
Ongoing parking problems at Avebury

The National Trust has presented its options appraisal to Kennet District Council with regard to the future of car parking and overnight stays during pagan observances at Avebury (Wiltshire, England). The appraisal will form the basis of an ongoing consultation process - concurrently, the Trust has also withdrawn its appeal to an enforcement notice served on its main Avebury visitor car park by Kennet District Council and submitted a planning application to allow it to comply with the notice that prevents overnight stays by camper vans and other high-sided vehicles in the National Trust’s main visitor car park.
     The National Trust has been working towards submitting an options appraisal to identify potential sites for the creation of a car park and overnight accommodation at pagan observances. Any solution needs to balance the interests of Avebury’s disparate groups as well as protect the archaeology of the World Heritage Site, minimise disruption to the village, ensure access for worship for the pagan community and conform with police concerns over traffic flows. The appraisal submitted to Kennet outlines nine potential sites. Following discussions, it is evident that no agreement exists among the groups of stakeholders on a preferred option, and therefore the Trust will not be submitting a planning application based on one of the nine options. The appraisal will, therefore, lead future discussions on a solution.
     In September, Kennet District Council issued the Trust with an enforcement notice on its visitor car park in Avebury. The notice obliges the Trust to stop tolerating the occupation of the car park for overnight stays at pagan observances. In order to comply with the enforcement notice, therefore, the Trust has to install a height barrier at the car park, which will prevent the entrance of caravans and motorhomes, which are cited in the enforcement notice. The erection of the height barrier will not prevent visitors from using the car park to enjoy Avebury or the pagan community carrying out their observances.
     Laurie Clark, National Trust North Area Manager, said: "In the long term, and by this we mean 50 years hence, the National Trust remains committed to removing vehicles from within the World Heritage Site.”

Source: Avebury News (27 December 2006)

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