As the opening of the new Stonehenge Visitor Centre approaches we’ve noticed quite a bit of criticism being levelled at it (some object to the display of human remains, others bitterly criticise it’s appearance and others (including us) feel the amount of space given to “interpretation” should have been greater).
However, it’s to be hoped the bigger picture won’t be lost – i.e. it is the start of a massive improvement over how things have been and the end of a true “national disgrace” so should be the cause for celebration. Indeed, for even more celebration than will be mentioned and we thought we’d print a couple of paragraphs from the Heritage Journal of six years ago to illustrate the fact. Sorry to rake over the coals but we thought we’d do it now and leave opening day as a matter for pure celebration, as it should be. Those who are minded to moan, please keep in mind what might have been…..
Heritage Journal 6 December 2007:
“We are delighted to join with many other concerned bodies such as the National Trust and the Stonehenge Alliance in welcoming the government’s announcement that not only have they cancelled the Stonehenge Project and any intention to construct new roads over the World Heritage Site but also that they now favour all the non-damaging improvements which we and many others have been calling for. We hope that all parties, including the government, can now work towards this common achievable aim and bring it about speedily.
As for the long and expensive saga that has preceded this satisfactory conclusion, we can do no better than to quote from the statement by “Save Stonehenge“: “It’s an absolute scandal that English Heritage has actively campaigned to bulldoze a dual carriageway through the Stonehenge World Heritage Site for almost a decade. With the Highways Agency, it has squandered millions of pounds of public money designing a wholly inappropriate road scheme that would have wrecked this iconic landscape forever. It’s good riddance to the road, but serious questions now have to be asked about why English Heritage was trying to destroy a sizeable chunk of England’s heritage.”
There, it’s said. The improvements have been put in their proper context, as they should be and plans for the bad stuff, hopefully, won’t be revived (will they?) Now let’s all celebrate a big step forward!