Plans have been revealed by English Heritage (EH) to rebuild the World Heritage Site of Stonehenge to bring it up to international standards as a visitor attraction.
An application is already lodged with the planning inspectorate to build a tunnel underneath the siteto reroute the traffic, and taking into account this plan, EH has worked with architects Denton Corker Marshall on proposals for a new single story visitors’ centre further away from the actual site. These new proposals require separate permission, but EH seems confident its plans will be well received.
This building will be more in keeping with the stones themselves, and have an increased focus on education than previously.
Apart from the centre itself a new ‘land train’ will operate to take visitors from there to the stones via a series of drop off points including various sites which are contemporary with, or predate the stones themselves.
Wildlife will also benefit as ploughed land in the World Heritage Site is returned to species-rich grassland, a project which Defra and the National Trust, which owns much of the land, have already been working on.
If permission from Salisbury District Council is granted, sometime next year, work can begin, and the overall projected cost has been fixed at £67.5million, which will come in part from the Heritage Lottery Fund, The Government, EH and the National Trust. £2.5million has already been pledged from private sources.
‘Stonehenge stands as a testament to the ingenuity of our ancestors. Today it stands as testament to all that is wrong about 21st Century living. It is the duty and privilege of a civilised society to look after its past,’ said Sir Neil Cossons, EH Chairman.
‘Our aim is to help people navigate the site physically intellectually, and emotionally. The experience must draw on all the senses and lead people to a greater understanding of humankind and our interaction with nature,’ he added.
All pictures courtesy English Heritage/Papicselect.