Pagan Foundation: Objection to Draft Orders
25 August 2003.
The Rt Hon Alistair Darling, MP,
Secretary of State for Transport,
C/O The Stonehenge Project,
The Highways Agency,
Zone 2/05-K, Temple Quay House,
2 The Square, Bristol BS1 6HA.
Dear Secretary of State,
A303 (Stonehenge Improvement) Draft Orders 200 and
Compulsory Purchase Order 200
The Pagan Federation, founded in 1971, represents the interests of Britain's Pagan community and campaigns on Pagan issues. Because Stonehenge is regarded as an especially sacred place its future is of great interest to Pagans and the Pagan Federation.
The Pagan Federation's view has always been that this internationally important monument deserves the best possible setting and the ancient landscape within which it is set should be cared for in the best possible way to secure its future. The PF supports the aims and objectives of the Stonehenge World Heritage Site Management Plan, at the heart of which is the principle that the whole archaeological and spiritual landscape of the WHS should be conserved and protected. The WHS was designated because of the richness of sites throughout the area, not just near the henge. The PF was strongly opposed to the original proposal of a short cut-and-cover tunnel for the A303 past Stonehenge. This was seen as being a cut-price solution which would cause great destruction and further divide the western half of the World Heritage Site. Although the PF welcomes the adoption of a bored method of tunnel construction rather than cut-and-cover, the proposals overall are still unacceptable and far from being the best outcome for Stonehenge and the World Heritage Site as a whole.
The PF supported the view reached at the Highways Agency's A303 Planning Conference in 1995 that the only satisfactory solution was a long bored tunnel across the full width of the World Heritage Site. It seems extraordinary that this broad consensus should have been abandoned for an unpopular and unsatisfactory alternative.
The Pagan Federation objects to the proposals in the draft Road Orders and the Compulsory Purchase Order for the Highways Agency's A303 (Stonehenge Improvement) scheme. It believes that they are contrary to the principles of the Management Plan. The PF strongly agrees with the concerns about the current proposals raised by both ICOMOS and the National Trust.
The Pagan Federation asks for this proposal to be subject to a full Public Inquiry covering all the details of the so-called 'Stonehenge Project', including plans for a visitor-centre and visitor-access to the landscape.