'Funeral' cortege aims to disrupt Stonehenge opening

PROTESTERS are planning to disrupt the opening of the new Stonehenge visitor centre next week by driving round in a mock funeral procession.

Members of the Stonehenge Traffic Action Group (STAG) plan to drive around a circuit carrying a coffin next Tuesday and Wednesday.

Their route will take them past the visitor centre at Airman’s Corner, past Stonehenge and Shrewton and Larkhill, past Stonehenge again and through Winterbourne Stoke.

The coffin is being carried on top of a car “to mark the untimely passing of the A344”, which runs by Stonehenge and was closed as part of the £27m Stonehenge improvement programme, of which the new visitor centre is part.

STAG campaign leader Janice Hassett said: “This peaceful protest is to show our annoyance that English Heritage managed to dupe Wiltshire Council into allowing the closure of the A344 before the A303 was made a dual carriageway.”

Mrs Hassett said it was not clear how many cars would be taking part, but emails expressing support were coming in all the time.

She said the protesters did not want to obstruct other drivers and had a diversion worked out should there be traffic problems.

The protesters say that the road closure has led to drivers using neighbouring communities, particularly Shrewton, as “rat-runs”, and they are also calling for a Winterbourne Stoke bypass and for the A303 to be made a dual carriageway.

The STAG website says: “In the shorter term we need to pressurise all parties to ensure shortterm solutions are put in place.”

The Tuesday protest will take place between 8.30am and 10am and 1pm and 4pm.

The Wednesday procession will be circulating from 8.30am until 10am.

A spokesman for English Heritage said “We know people are frustrated and respect their right to peaceful protests. We also agree with them that something needs to be done.

“We approached them to discuss their protest plans but as they are now to take place on public roads, it is a matter for the police to ensure they do not cause major inconvenience to road users.”

Comments (5)

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6:53pm Wed 11 Dec 13

cactus Joe says...

I don't quite get this protest.... Lets protest about pollution and traffic by creating more pollution and traffic. It's probably just me but this doesn't seem to make any sense to my way of thinking.
I don't quite get this protest.... Lets protest about pollution and traffic by creating more pollution and traffic. It's probably just me but this doesn't seem to make any sense to my way of thinking. cactus Joe

12:58pm Thu 12 Dec 13

Harnham Resident says...

I am all for peaceful protests etc if people feel the need, but I do think the use of a coffin and mock funeral procession is in extremely bad taste, when you consider the accidents and loss of life at the A303/A344 junction and Airman's cross over the years. Shame on you!
I am all for peaceful protests etc if people feel the need, but I do think the use of a coffin and mock funeral procession is in extremely bad taste, when you consider the accidents and loss of life at the A303/A344 junction and Airman's cross over the years. Shame on you! Harnham Resident

9:40pm Thu 12 Dec 13

Shrewton Resident says...

Shrewton resident says;
Whilst I respect what Harnham Resident says, what particularly concerns us is the 'rat running' through Shrewton, which has increased by a considerable degree since the, closure of the A344, re-profiling of Long Barrow roundabout, and the 'Upgrade' of Countess Roundabout. Traffic densities through our High Street have increased out of all proportion, and to get the message across to the appropriate authorities, by peaceful protest, that the closure of the A344 BEFORE the A303 was dualled was wrong seems quite legitimate; maybe this form of protest is seen as in poor taste to some people but we have to use whatever 'ammunition' is in our armoury.
Shrewton resident says; Whilst I respect what Harnham Resident says, what particularly concerns us is the 'rat running' through Shrewton, which has increased by a considerable degree since the, closure of the A344, re-profiling of Long Barrow roundabout, and the 'Upgrade' of Countess Roundabout. Traffic densities through our High Street have increased out of all proportion, and to get the message across to the appropriate authorities, by peaceful protest, that the closure of the A344 BEFORE the A303 was dualled was wrong seems quite legitimate; maybe this form of protest is seen as in poor taste to some people but we have to use whatever 'ammunition' is in our armoury. Shrewton Resident

7:05am Fri 13 Dec 13

Colmanskid says...

Harnham Resident wrote:
I am all for peaceful protests etc if people feel the need, but I do think the use of a coffin and mock funeral procession is in extremely bad taste, when you consider the accidents and loss of life at the A303/A344 junction and Airman's cross over the years. Shame on you!
This is the same Airmans Cross Junction where the memorial to Capt Eustace Loraine and SSgt Richard Wilson of the Royal Flying Corp who were killed on the 5th of July 1912 was moved to allow a roundabout to be built to manage traffic due to the A344 being closed. Then placed inside the Shiny New Visitor Centre.
[quote][p][bold]Harnham Resident[/bold] wrote: I am all for peaceful protests etc if people feel the need, but I do think the use of a coffin and mock funeral procession is in extremely bad taste, when you consider the accidents and loss of life at the A303/A344 junction and Airman's cross over the years. Shame on you![/p][/quote]This is the same Airmans Cross Junction where the memorial to Capt Eustace Loraine and SSgt Richard Wilson of the Royal Flying Corp who were killed on the 5th of July 1912 was moved to allow a roundabout to be built to manage traffic due to the A344 being closed. Then placed inside the Shiny New Visitor Centre. Colmanskid

10:56am Wed 18 Dec 13

Sustainer says...

Airmans Cross was never on the actual site of their untimely deaths. It has always said 'near this place..' so what point are you making Colmanskid?
Airmans Cross was never on the actual site of their untimely deaths. It has always said 'near this place..' so what point are you making Colmanskid? Sustainer

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