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Stonehenge, taking in the present Visitor Centre and car park. Image credit Moss

Jonathan Jones said it very well – that the coalition is guilty of a final betrayal of Stonehenge and the fact its first cultural cuts include what was already an inadequate plan for the site’s rehabilitation just adds insult to injury – “a callous and unjustified assault on a wonder of the world.”

And…

“Spending on Stonehenge is not a luxury: work there is massively overdue, and no one who visits the place can possibly think its current facilities appropriate to such a great and mysterious ancient legacy. The site is so badly landscaped that it scars your memory of a visit there with crummy visions of Britain in decay. If the coalition thinks the most remarkable monument in the British Isles is a dispensable luxury, God help the culture, God help the land.”

That’s a phrase that will chime with everybody: “so badly landscaped that it scars your memory”…

So surely, “improving” the present visitor centre and leaving it there is not an option. Nor is failing to grass over the A344 where it cuts across the monument. Those are the two things that have scarred the memories of millions of people for decades. Whatever else happens, government finance or private, new interpretation centre or none, removing those two scars on everyone’s memories, those two callous and unjustified assaults on a wonder of the world MUST be the priority and duty of English Heritage. Those are the least expensive and most needed elements and finance has ALWAYS been available for them, so let us hope they will be actioned very soon. How about a timetable English Heritage: done and dusted in as many months from now as the number of decades it has been talked about?

UPDATE: But it now seems unlikely this is going to be resolved any time soon. See this reaction from RESCUE!

Who knows, maybe the delay will be a blessing. Better right than soon!

A letter from the Tara Skryne Preservation Group;

To whom it concerns,

The Tara Skryne Preservation Group would like to register our deep distress at recent radio and newspaper reports of local Meath Co. Councillors rallying against the implementation of the Tara Skryne Landscape Conservation Area Plan. A campaign of scaremongering and misinformation is being perpetrated by FF, FG and Independent councillors through which allegations of land sterilisation, eviction and non provision for Planning of one off housing has been instigated. The Draft Plan is to go before the Council on 5th July 2010 for voting.

Several Meath Councillors including Shane Mc Entee TD FG , Mary Wallace TD FF and Nick Killian FF are, in our opinion, misrepresenting the facts which can be seen clearly outlined in the Tara Skryne Landscape Conservation Area Plan on Meath County Council’s website. The Plan contains more than adequate reassurances on these very same issues.

This is scandalous and reprehensible behaviour unbecoming of elected representatives who are supposed to be working for the good of the community. Instead of informing and educating locals whose fears over the implementation of the Plan are intensifying, they have been encouraging opposition to it with misinformation, inaccuracies and innuendo at a series of meetings in Tara Skryne, on LMFM Radio and in local newspaper interviews.

This is the first Landscape Conservation Plan to be drawn up anywhere in this country and was first announced by Dick Roche the Minister for Environment in 2005. It was later endorsed by Meath Councillors and included in the Meath County Development Plan 2007-2013. Many consultative meetings have taken place since with locals, stakeholders and experts in various fields yet it is only recently that objections have been raised and all before the deadline for submissions had even been reached. This suggests that the voices of those who prepared submissions for the Wednesday 16th June deadline will not be taken into account by these publicly elected Politicians even before the planning process has been concluded.

The Tara Skryne Preservation Group fully supports the principles outlined in the Plan believing it will be of great benefit to the local community by preserving the landscape rich in history and heritage for future generations, as well as promoting Meath as a Tourism and Heritage destination.

We ask that the Meath Co Council team involved with this project, The Heritage Council and the Dept. of the Environment assuage mounting fears amongst locals by counteracting the concerted campaign of negative propaganda which is currently in full sway. We can only assume that the real fears spreading in the community are being fueled by developers etc. in reaction to the prospect of a drop in revenue from not being able to proceed with inappropriate development within the Tara Skryne Valley.

The Tara Skryne Preservation Group calls on our more responsible Politicians to take the lead, to do what is right by coming forward to support the Plan for the present and future good of all.

Is mise le meas,

Carmel Diviney,

Secretary ,

TSPG.

www.taraskryne.com

Contacts for further information:

Sean Gilmartin Chairman 0877525674

Carmel Diviney Secretary 0876100771 
  

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