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Like countless roads the A303 near Stonehenge sometimes gets very congested. But what you never hear from Highways England and its yes-bodies and yes-men is that mostly it doesn’t!

Take this recent video footage (courtesy of Andy Rhind-Tutt on Twitter) of the stretch of road with the iconic view of the stones, the view that soon no-one will be allowed to see because they’ll be forced to drive into a £2 billion tunnel. As Andy says, the £2 billion might get you to Cornwall 8.5 minutes quicker but most likely it will get you there 0.0 minutes faster!

So what are the other advantages, given the horrible heritage downside? Well, it will give David Cameron more votes at the General Election, which was the whole point of announcing it, remember? Except that it won’t. He’s long gone and never mentions the subject. He recently said Brexit, which he brought about, was “a mistake not a disaster”. What’s the betting he secretly sees the Stonehenge tunnel proposal, which he also brought about, as a disaster not a mistake!

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Actually – there was one small A frame on the steps of Soc. Ant. stating the exhibition was on – unfortunately we were blocking it with our banners! A HE employee did come and move it off the steps at around 2 pm and placed it about 1 m away from the steps – agree it was not very visible. Most of the people we spoke to had no idea about the proposed tunnel, the exhibition or the arguments against it. There is a real need to tap into what would be huge support – or education of the facts – via twitter and other social media. I do as much as I can but I’m not a tweeter and can’t help on that score!

Nettie B Brown

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

Stonehenge Alliance via Campaigns by You (campaignsbyyou@38degrees.org.uk)

Dear Supporter,

You probably heard that last month Highways England launched its consultation on their final plans for a £1.6bn Expressway and tunnel.

As expected it will plough through the chalk landscape of Stonehenge World Heritage Site. The mock ups show prettily-designed “green” coverings over concrete tunnel entrances and bridges, and a “disappearing road”.

The plans however include a flyover, double interchange, slip roads and 40ft-deep cuttings.  All this engineering will profoundly scar and deform this iconic ancient landscape forever. 

The future of the World Heritage status may be in jeopardy. This loss would not only include Stonehenge but Avebury as well since it ispart of the same World Heritage Site.

We are in danger of sleep walking into an international scandal if we allow this disastrous scheme to go ahead.

The sole chance outside Wiltshire to see what’s planned for Stonehenge WHS is this Thursday 8th March at the Society of Antiquaries, Burlington House (Royal Academy courtyard), Piccadilly, London W1J 0BE.  Can you join us, our President Tom Holland and our Chairman George McDonic MBE, at 1pm to show your disgust at the desecration of our national treasure?

Demonstration details here.

Consultation closes on 6th April. If you possibly can, please object today!

If you cannot attend, we have suggested responses to Highways England’s online questionnaire and short proforma here

Thank you once again, and we hope to meet those of you that can make it on Thursday!

Best wishes,

The Stonehenge Alliance

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Stonehenge Alliance started this campaign on the 38 Degrees Campaigns by You website. If there’s an issue close to your heart that you’d like to campaign on, you can start your campaign here.

We’ve often claimed that official toleration of brandalism at monuments  and precious places might erode respect for such places and create a mindset in some people that could lead them to commit damaging copycatting elsewhere. We wonder if this, on the South Downs, is an example?

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(Ironically, the South Downs recently got £4.8m EU funding, some of which was probably spent on gates!)

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[Hat tip to for this.]

The abiding message of the 30th Anniversary Conference is that the whole Stonehenge landscape is very special. So logically you’d think everyone would want to keep it from harm. But no. “Desecration by short tunnel” must still be considered acceptable for no-one said otherwise and Tom Holland’s 2 minute 27 second video saying otherwise couldn’t be shown as the programme was “too full”!  

It all makes zero sense. But perhaps most puzzling of all is the attitude of the National Trust. By what mechanism has “Preserving special places for everyone, for ever” become “we support what the Government wants”?  We think we may have found the answer buried in an article in The Independent back in 2003 :

It is the largest conservation group in Europe and the third-biggest landowner in the country. But, a senior official admits on screen, it does not know exactly what it is meant to be doing. What disturbs about The National Trust is not its concern with fine buildings and natural landscape but its inconsistencies and distortions and its clod-hopping, bureaucratic megalomania in dealing with them. Tyntesfield must be frozen archaeologically, but Lennon can be imagined. Cliveden can be developed, but Orford Ness must remain a desert.”

And the Stonehenge WHS must be valiantly defended. Or not. Depending on which decade the question arises.

 

Why yowling moggy? Because a series of misrepresentations (17 so far) may suggest a concerted agenda.

Baroness Jones just askedwhether Highways England plan to investigate using a tunnel which avoids visual and physical damage to the Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites World Heritage Site and its setting”. It was an easy question for the Government to deal with. Simply saying “yes, it’s one of several options” would answer the question but not bind them to it. But no. Lord Ahmed of Wimbledon said: “Highways England are considering a number of options for improving the section of the A303 close to Stonehenge, which include a variety of tunnel options. The results will be available for consideration at a public consultation to be held in 2017.”

The question called for just “yes” or “no” not “a variety” which means nothing.  So we can safely infer a non-damaging option isn’t being considered. Had it been he would have been delighted to say so. We can also predict that only damaging options will be offered at the public consultation. Logic dictates it’s true. Which is more than can be said of Highways England’s reported statement after their recent Workshop that they “hope” the new A303 would avoid the WHS”!!

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[To see the others put ‘Yowling’ in the search box.]

Why yowling moggy? Because a series of misrepresentations (16 so far) may suggest a concerted agenda.

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English Heritage has published 2 pictures titled THE SOLUTION suggesting how the Stonehenge Landscape could look “without the A303“….

yowling-moggy-number-10

But it’s a misrepresentation that pushes the term “blatant” to new levels. The landscape will NOT be “without the A303 !! What is proposed is the building of a new A303, partly in a short tunnel  but also in the form of brand new, massively damaging surface dual carriageways stretching about a mile, just about as long as the existing road shown above!

So suggesting the landscape would be without the A303 is yet another screeching moggy and it is the basis upon which Highways England say (in their current newletter) their plans will result in a “reduced impact on Stonehenge and the World Heritage Site“.  No. Absolutely, categorically no.

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[To see the others put ‘Yowling’ in the search box.]

Here are a couple of before and after images of Boslow Inscribed Stone, St Just, Cornwall.

Image © C. Weatherhill

Boslow Stone previously.    [Image © C. Weatherhill]

Image © C. Weatherhill

Boslow Stone currently   [Image © C. Weatherhill]

Fortunately the Boslow site is being monitored by CASPN (Cornish Ancient Sites Protection Network) in conjunction with Cornwall Council’s Historic Environment Service Officer who has already spoken to the farmer.

However, there are many thousands of ancient sites elsewhere which don’t have protection networks and are far more vulnerable. Budgetary constraints can mean  that unless they are alerted to a problem Historic England inspectors may not be able to visit more than once in several years, if at all. (The parlous financial reality surrounding all heritage guardianship is something which those who complain about having to pay to go to Stonehenge should perhaps take on board!)

So it’s pretty clear that conservation is often in the hands of the general public who are in a position to alert official guardians to problems as soon as they arise.

Why yowling moggy? Because a series of misrepresentations (14 so far) may suggest a concerted agenda.

A moggy of omission? It’s like this: you’d think, since the Government said the Trust’s volte-face on the tunnel was pivotal, the 2016 National Trust AGM would be full of the subject. But no, no-one mentioned the word Stonehenge  and there were only two Members’ Resolutions (and they were about the Tenants Association and saving a café at Studland). Nothing about the biggest decision the Trust has ever made (and ever will) – the decision to support massive new damage to the Stonehenge World Heritage Site. 

You’d also think, wouldn’t you, that out of 4.5 million members some would have tried to table a resolution about that. But no. Or did they? (The Board can refuse to accept a resolution if it has been covered before, if it’s defamatory or if at least three quarters of the Board think it’s not relevant). Whatever the reason, the omission is bizarre by any measure, is it not?

Maybe though, you think Stonehenge was covered within the 22 questions from the floor? No it wasn’t. Or the 24 questions submitted in the simultaneous webchat? No, it wasn’t. Still, the Chair, Tim Parker, did say “I hope you can see we’re not just trying to take on the nice easy questions”. No, actually, we can’t.

Why yowling moggy? Because a series of misrepresentations (13 so far) may suggest a concerted agenda.

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Placebo politics? In 2010  Conservative MP John Glen certainly pleased the voters, saying he would not rest until a Salisbury bypass was built. But this year he changed: “I have always said that I will not rest from seeking improvements to Salisbury’s roads infrastructure.” Not quite the same thing! Anyway, he has now applied placebo politics to Stonehenge (and added a dash of muddle!):

On 4th March 2014 he wrote: there is one option that would address the demands of those who crave a fit for purpose dual carriageway and those who rightly seek to protect the precious archaeology of Stonehenge. A long deep bore tunnel would enable safe passage through without disturbing the hidden barrows and earthworks of the wider World Heritage site.” Sounds pleasing! A long tunnel and no disturbance to archaeology. But next day at a Westminster Hall debate he said  “In the past there has repeatedly been one solution that has united all parties, a deep bore tunnel if it was at least 2.8 km long.

For his information … all parties were NOT united, in fact nearly every archaeological and heritage body was strongly against it! In addition, his “long tunnel” turns out to be a short tunnel, and that of course would disturb the archaeology of the wider World Heritage site! Placebos (and yowling moggies) are bad enough but describing damaging quack remedies as reliable cures is worse.

[To see the others put ‘Yowling’ in the search box.]

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