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There’s just time (until the end of the month) to have your say on a formal British document to be submitted to UNESCO laying out, inter alia, how Stonehenge and Avebury ought to be managed.

See http://consult.wiltshire.gov.uk/portal/spatial_planning/consultee_documents/avebury_whs/

(You can send your views direct to strategiclandscape@wiltshire.gov.uk )

We have our own views on the matter and here is the submission we have made:

“We note that:  “The process of producing the Statement of OUV is not an opportunity to change or add to the reasons for inscription but a chance to distil them into a single document which will be key [to] the World Heritage Property’s protection. It is however possible to reflect challenges which have emerged over the last 25 years as well as changes in the management and protection context.“

In that case, we would like to say that a very obvious “change in the management and protection context” which has emerged over the last 25 years is the fact that there has been a vast growth, due to the internet, in the number of people nationally and internationally who have a strong personal interest in the WHS and make frequent repeated visits to it and these now comprise the overwhelming preponderance of stakeholders – yet their needs are not addressed in a way which reflects that fact.

Even the introductory remarks of this consultation exercise betray a failure to recognise this reality: “This consultation provides an opportunity for local people, community groups and other organisations to comment on its Statement of Outstanding Universal Value”. The clear message is that unless you are local or a member of a community group or other organisation this consultation is not for you.

Involving and informing the local community or specially favoured groups first and leaving the wider community effectively ignored or disenfranchised is no longer appropriate. In our submission the need to rectify this matter goes to the very heart of both the management and protection of the World Heritage Site and a step-change is overdue.”

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