List members may be interested in the following EH press release.
SMR Forum List Owner
557/07/0 Wednesday 31
£57 MILLION SCHEME BRINGS A NEW DAWN FOR STONEHENGE
Stonehenge, once famously described as "a national disgrace" is at last to
be rescued from its current shameful state and given the dignified setting
it deserves as an iconic World Heritage Site. The £57 million scheme
announced today will help to transform the ancient landscape, uniting it
with the Stones and dramatically improving access for millions of visitors
from across the world.
The transformation has been made possible by a funding package only agreed
this week. Firstly, the Heritage Lottery Fund have pledged a commitment of
more than £26 million towards the project once the planning process has been
completed. The Government announced today their funding of at least £10
million, added to this English Heritage will contribute £11.7 million to
improve access and visitor facilities. The National Trust will also be
organising funding for improvements to the landscape. The balance will be
raised by a major fund-raising appeal to be launched by English Heritage
later this year.
Speaking today in Salisbury at the launch of the new scheme, Anthea Case,
Director of the Heritage Lottery Fund, said: "Our support illustrates the
Heritage Lottery Fund's commitment to a shared vision of Stonehenge properly
seen in its ancient landscape, in a setting that honours its mysterious
"It's not an easy site and there is much work to do before a final scheme
can be agreed but our Board was persuaded that support at this moment was
right if the momentum towards a proper solution is to be maintained.
"The HLF believes that, for this complex project to be successful and to
ensure that the greatest number of people can reach the stones, it is
imperative that there is an holistic mechanism for the review, management
and interpretation of the World Heritage Site, which will cover all works
within it. As English Heritage and everybody else concerned realise, "the
hard work starts here."
Welcoming the HLF decision on behalf of the Stonehenge partnership, Sir Neil
Cossons, Chairman of English Heritage, said: "English Heritage has battled
for more than 16 years, latterly with the vital co-operation of the National
Trust, to provide visitors to Stonehenge with the setting, access,
understanding and enjoyment that is expected at such an internationally
important pre-historic site. It has been a long and difficult struggle.
"The importance of today's announcements cannot be underestimated. These
funds are the key to reuniting an archaeological landscape rich with
ceremonial monuments spanning over 10,000 years.
"We will now be able to achieve one of the key conservation and access
objectives of the World Heritage Site Management Plan. The 'gateway' to the
Stonehenge Landscape will be the visitor reception building at Countess
East, which is outside the World Heritage Site, out of sight of the Stones
and not on an archaeologically sensitive site.
"Stonehenge is a familiar image even to those who have never visited it,
yet it is
the site on which the nation's heritage-led tourist industry is judged.
830,000 people a year from around the world pay to visit it, they spend on
average just over half on hour at the Stone Circle.
"Visitors to Stonehenge deserve better than this, at long last they will be
able to engage with the wonder of the Stonehenge landscape as never before.
* "Denton Corker Marshall's design for the visitor reception building
will blend seamlessly into the landscape. Inside the building a range of
interpretative exhibitions will tell the story of Stonehenge, its changing
landscape and the people whose lives shaped its world. This will be a rich
and rewarding experience creating new opportunities for learning."
* Baroness Blackstone, Minister of State for the Arts, said:
"Stonehenge is a magical place that attracts visitors from all over the
world. Good, well-designed visitor facilities are essential to ensure the
site's history is brought to life for the widest possible audience. To that
end, I am pleased to announce that the Government is committed to
contributing at least £10million towards the construction of Stonehenge's
new visitor reception building. I look forward to being one of its first
* Charles Nunneley, Chairman of the National Trust, said " This scheme
will fundamentally change the nature of a visit to Stonehenge in exciting
and challenging ways. The special qualities of the landscape - its space,
its scale, its striking views - can be revealed for the first time for
generations, enormously enriching the experience for visitors."
* Visitors will have a variety of options for exploring the World
Heritage Site from the visitor reception building. They can walk, hire
cycles or take the low impact, environmentally friendly shuttle buses for
the five minute journey to drop-off points within walking distance of the
Stone Circle. There will be dedicated routes and drop-off points for
mobility assistance buggies to help visitors and their companions with
special access requirements.
* There is free access to the National Trust Stonehenge estate of
about 1,700 acres. People can use the existing network of public rights of
way to roam across open
* downland surrounding the Stone Circle and explore the area's many
* The cost of the visitor reception building including exhibitions,
audiovisual presentations, car parking and landscaping at Countess East is
around £35 million. Provision of low impact, environmentally friendly
visitor transport around the World Heritage Site will cost in the region of
£7 million. Landscaping, land purchase and access rights, archaeology,
feasibility studies, reserves and project direction make up the remaining
* Later this year, English Heritage will submit a planning application
to Salisbury District Council for the plans revealed today. The visitor
reception building is expected to open by 2006.
* NOTES TO EDITORS
* Plans to improve the roads surrounding Stonehenge are being
progressed by the Highways Agency. Traffic will be removed from the
Stonehenge landscape by closing the A344 and placing a 2.km section of the
A303 in a tunnel. Methods of constructing the 2.km tunnel are being
considered with a view to recommending one to ministers in the autumn. These
options include cut and cover tunnel and bored tunnels. A bypass at
Winterbourne Stoke, a new junction at Longbarrow Crossroads and a flyover at
Countess Roundabout will ease congestion.
* The Heritage Lottery Fund
* The HLF enables communities to celebrate, look after and learn more
about our diverse heritage. From our great museums and historic buildings
to local parks and beauty spots or recording and celebrating traditions,
customs and history, HLF grants open up our nation's heritage for everyone
to enjoy. We have supported more than 10,000 project, allocating over £2
billion across the UK.
* A 'Stage One Pass' means that the project (which has a total cost of
more than £500,000) may progress to Stage Two. On occasion, development
funding will also be awarded towards the development of the scheme. A Stage
One Pass does not
guarantee that the applicant will be awarded a grant but it is a positive
provided the project is development further along agreed lines, it is
likely, to receive support.
Department of Culture Media & Sport
The Government, via the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, has
committed to contribute at least £10 million in the period covered by its
2002 Spending Review (2003/04-2005/06) towards the visitor reception
building at Stonehenge. Further funds may be available in the next spending
The National Trust was created in 1895 and is the UK's largest conservation
charity, caring for 300 houses and gardens that are open to the public. It
also protects 600 miles of coastline and has 600,000 children visiting its
properties annually. There are currently 2.9 million members, making the
National Trust the second largest membership organisation in the UK.
Further details of the plans revealed by English Heritage and the Natural
Trust are available on the English Heritage website at