Local people warned English Heritage about Stonehenge road problems

First published in Postbag

I WENT to a meeting in 2011 concerning the road closure at Stonehenge.

It was pure theatre, just like Henry V. On one side was a mighty army consisting of English Heritage, road engineers, solicitors and other experts, armed with statistics and formulae.

Their opponents sat opposite, armed only with the long bows of local knowledge and common sense.

A lady from English Heritage, who had more letters after her name than in it, was asked why they wanted to close the road, and she couldn't remember. She had to be prompted by the chairman. A minor point and an easy thing to forget, I suppose, when you're only spending £67m.

A road engineer, with 31 letters after his name, then explained how adding a third lane on the Longbarrow roundabout would relieve congestion on the single lane A303. Well, I never did get O-level maths, but three roads into one won't go, and nor did the traffic.

When local people pointed out that the problem was the main road itself, and not the roundabout, and that there would be traffic problems in the surrounding villages, they were cut down by a hail of facts and figures which, apparently, proved them wrong. However, subsequent events seem to have proved them right.

Time has now passed, but it seems that the same person is doing the sums. A lot of coaches that visit the new centre are 50 seaters, but the road trains to the monument only hold 45 people.

What do you do with the other five?

Imagine what it will be like if several coaches turn up at the same time. I get the impression that the people who planned the whole thing must live on the moon.

It certainly has more atmosphere than the new visitor centre.

Richard Tambling, Salisbury


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