Stonehenge centre ‘will be ready for Olympics

From the article:
Ambitious plans for a world-class visitor centre for Stonehenge may have dwindled to a world-class prefab, but yesterday both English Heritage and the government pledged it would be built in time for the 2012 Olympics.

After over 20 years of bitter public debate, and an estimated £9m spent on consultants, designs and planning inquiries, the proposed £57m visitor centre collapsed last year when the government abandoned, on cost grounds, the plan to tunnel the A303 where it passes one of the world’s most famous prehistoric monuments.

Ordered by culture minister Margaret Hodge to sort the site in time for the expected Olympics tourism bonanza, English Heritage yesterday launched yet another public consultation, this time on a new quick fix solution: a “temporary” building lasting up to 20 years, costing up to £20m, and providing a café, a shop and twice as much parking.

It could be achieved either by drastically upgrading the present site – damned almost 20 years ago by a parliamentary committee as “a national disgrace” – or on one of four other sites scattered across the edge of the world heritage site: some on National Trust land, others on privately owned or Ministry of Defence land.

In most options there would be park and ride schemes leaving visitors to walk the remaining 1.25km to the stones, across a landscape spattered with other monuments completely overlooked by most visitors today. In every case the A344 branch road, which passes within yards of the stones, would be closed and turfed over.

Read the article here.


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