Letter: Stonehenge: close the road

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The Independent Online
Sir: It is very regrettable that the Millennium Commission has refused to support the project for creating a millennium park around Stonehenge. By general agreement Stonehenge is our prime national monument, and its proper conservation and presentation should be a top priority for all the agencies involved. Unfortunately, the failure of these agencies to agree on a satisfactory scheme for the presentation of the monument has provided the Commission with a good reason for withholding support.

It must be hoped that, now we must return to square one in designing presentation of the monument commensurate with its importance, some of the agencies involved can be persuaded to take the actions which have so far jeopardised the whole enterprise. This means, first, that the A344 past the monument must be closed; second, that the A303 trunk road must at least be placed in a tunnel sufficiently long to screen it from the monument - both of which measures involve firm decisions by the Department of Transport - and third, that the Ministry of Defence must be persuaded to vacate those parts of the Stonehenge World Heritage Site which it continues to occupy.

If these three steps could be taken, all need not be lost and the presentation of this outstanding but much abused national monument could still be brought up to the international standards it requires before the beginning of the next millennium.


Emeritus Professor of the History

of Technology

University of Bath