RECENT changes to the way that the Stonehenge gives out free visitor passes to people living in and around Amesbury have left some local residents upset.
It comes after a change to the rule that previously allowed residents and family access to Stonehenge but now limits them solely to one adult and three children.
This could mean some single parent families, or residents with family who do not live in the area paying up to £13.90 per person.
People who live in the Amesbury area have been entitled to free access to the Stonehenge ever since 1921 when a deal was struck between Amesbury Parish Council and the government.
The resolution passed by Amesbury Parish Council on April 12, 1921 stated: “The Council relinquishes all claims on the right of way now enclosed, on condition that all householders and their families, (or all inhabitants) of the parishes, comprising the Rural District of Amesbury, and the householders and their families (or inhabitants) of the Parish of Netheravon, be granted free admission to Stonehenge at all times.”
Local resident Colin Watson was upset when he found out the news following a recent trip to Amesbury Library to pick up his new visitor card so that his daughter’s family, who are not from the area, could visit.
He said: “I think that it is absolutely outrageous that English Heritage has changed this policy via the back door.
“For years people have managed to visit the Stonehenge free of charge and I think what they have done is against the agreement that was laid out when Sir Cecil Chubb gave the land to the nation.”
English Heritage said that they updated the pass to make it more in line with other visitor passes that they produce.
A spokesperson said: “With the introduction of our advanced ticketing system we felt it was important to provide more information to people wanting to visit Stonehenge when demand was so high.
“We refreshed the application criteria to ensure it was available to all genuine local residents.
“By doing this we believe we have increased and extended access because every adult can now bring children with them.
“Take up of local resident passes has increased significantly this year and we are delighted to have seen a surge in people from the local area visiting Stonehenge and the new visitor centre.”
Visitor passes to the Stonehenge are available at Amesbury library, on production of two forms of identification confirming eligibility.
They are available to 30,000 residents living in the parishes of Amesbury, Bulford, Figheldean, Durrington, Durnford, Woodford, Winterbourne Stoke, Shrewton, Orcheston, Tilshead, Winterbourne, Idmiston, Allington, Newton Toney, Netheravon, Milston, Wilsford-cum-Lake and Cholderton.