Two crucial aspects of the Stonehenge proposals have yet to be clarified…
1. The transit system.
Will it be like one of the two examples shown here ? Not one like the Eden Project, please! That one is called “Percy”. Very tasteful! So more like the Dover Castle one? It may be, if this video is a true representation. But the video one pulls four carriages, not two. Is the vehicle up to it? And what about the livery? Can we be solemnly promised it will never ever carry advertising? And what’s wrong with buses? And what about talk in The Times letters column of Lord Lansdowne saying Stonehenge would be turned into a toytown with visitors approaching in dinky electric vehicles? Isn’t anything that prompts thoughts of Noddyland (which it’s hard not to think of when watching the video) to be absolutely avoided at our national icon?
2. The fences
Will the fences be removed? Surely it has been decided upon? After all, if the detailed design of the new Visitor Centre and the colour of the transit system coaches have been decided then surely it is inconceivable that the matter of access to the stones (in other words the fences) hasn’t been been decided as well? English Heritage as good as says it has : “The need to care for Stonehenge properly has been recognised for many years. Improvement to its landscape setting and presentation to visitors are identified as priorities in the WHS Management Plan ……… The proposals to address this need have been agreed by a group of key stakeholders led by English Heritage“
So what HAS been decided about the fences? The reason the question needs to be asked is because the video appears to show that there will be no fences - and although that would be very nice we have concerns that behind the scenes a different view might have been taken. The practicalities suggest that having no fences at all would prove impossible. Security is one problem. And erosion is another. But the video seems to suggests that nearly a million people a year will be free to walk amongst the stones, not held back by fences, ropes or rules. It seems unlikely.
A lot of people hold the “no fences and free access to the stones” concept very dear. If it is not going to happen then it would be better if people were told, not given a contrary impression by a video. Indeed, the public has the right to know does it not? Open access to the stones may or may not be impractical but open access to information about this matter certainly isn’t!