| 1 January 2004
Residents near Stonehenge accuse heritage planners
Residents living on the edge of the Stonehenge World Heritage Site have accused heritage bosses of placing more importance on life 4,000 years ago than the quality of life of today's inhabitants who live close to the ancient stones. People living near Larkhill, say English Heritage and the National Trust plan to remove "20th century clutter" from the site but will be replacing them with "21st century clutter".
The accusations were made at a public meeting in Figheldean, when English Heritage and the National Trust revealed their plans for the multi-million-pound Stonehenge visitor centre and the revolutionary land trains that will ferry tourists to and from the stones. A planning application will be submitted to Salisbury district council for the new centre and for the route the land trains will use. The meeting was held to give residents an opportunity to have their say and raise issues that English Heritage and the National Trust can consider before submitting their planning application.
The route chosen for the land trains would be a northern one, starting at the visitor centre and running into a terminus at Durrington Farm. Drop-off points containing just a shelter will be at strategic points along the route and, once at the terminal, visitors will have a ten-minute walk along a bridleway to the stones. The bridleway will be upgraded, so that it can be used by disabled visitors and people in wheelchairs.
The route the land trains will travel goes within 50m of the backs of houses in Fargo Road and Strangways but tree-screening and fencing will help obscure the trains from the houses. Penny Worboys, who lives in Fargo Road, said: "There are no land trains or tracks there now, no visitor centre. They are being introduced. You are putting something at the back of our houses that is not there now."
Residents suggested that the land train route be sunk into the ground slightly, to reduce the impact, and they asked that any screening be as close to the route as possible, to maximise its effect. All suggestions made at the meeting would be looked at and discussed further with local people in the new year, prior to the planning application.
One problem still facing English Heritage and one that could jeopardise the land train project is the ministry of defence's reaction. The ministry has not yet agreed to sell land it owns near Larkhill and which is needed for the land train route. Without that permission, the scheme is a `no go'.
Source: Sailsbury Journal & Avon Advertiser (30 December 2003)
Share this webpage: