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Back in November last year, we reported on a madcap scheme from Oxford Council for a new traffic scheme in the area of the Rollright Stones (see ‘Stonehenge idiocy at The Rollrights!‘). Even we thought, “surely not!”

However, it seems that the scheme outlined in November, to divert heavy traffic directly past the Rollright Stones (between the circle and the King Stone) is being given more legitimacy by the local council. The peace of the Rollright Stones is now under serious threat from proposals to turn the quiet road that runs beside it into a major route for Heavy Goods Vehicles to bypass Chipping Norton.

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A petition has now been raised, and all who enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the stones are strongly being urged to sign it as soon as possible. The petition states:

Whilst we understand the context of addressing the HGV traffic and air quality issues in Chipping Norton, the Rollright Road is a narrow C road entirely unfit for HGV traffic, or for upgrading to a full trunk road. The option has been examined on various occasions over the last twelve years, and even without fully considering the heritage, cultural and landscape implications, it has been dismissed – most recently in 2016 concluding “this option should not be pursued for further investigation.”

It goes on:

We are very concerned that without proactive management a significant increase in HGVs would arise using Rollright Road as a rat-run between the A44 and A344. The road passes within only 7m of the Kings Men stone circle and 30m from the King Stone. Part of the heritage and cultural value of the Stones is that in addition to c.20,000 visitors annually they are increasingly visited by school parties of 30-60 (sometimes up to 90) 7- and 8-year olds who have to cross the road. At 5m wide the road only just fits two passing HGVs, and the nearby blind crossroads at Tollhouse Cottage is notoriously dangerous. Rather than encouraging more HGV traffic passing through the Stones – whether directly or inadvertently – it should be actively discouraged.
We are concerned for the safety of people visiting the Stones, for local residents affected by inappropriate and reckless road use, as well as for the preservation of the Stones as a major cultural asset. The Rollright Trust has dedicated and very experienced trustees who have developed a very highly respected approach to managing the Stones and safeguarding them for generations to come, not just as a relic from ancient times. We hope our local Councils share this sense of responsibility and will act positively with strategic foresight to protect residents and the environment.

So please, if you visit and enjoy the stones, and/or are concerned by the erosion of the freedom to enjoy our heritage in peace and safety, sign the petition, and encourage all your family and friends to do the same.

If you want to know more about the monuments at the Rollright Stones, visit their website at  https://www.rollrightstones.co.uk and again, please, sign the petition to protect them NOW!

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