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Stonehenge breakthrough as visitor centre agreed

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Author Topic: Stonehenge breakthrough as visitor centre agreed  (Read 79 times)
Konrad Verhagen
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« on: September 07, 2009, 12:16:55 am »

The announcement marks the final abandonment of the ambitious project to replace the present squalid facilities, damned 20 years ago by the parliamentary public accounts committee, as "a national disgrace". The vision, intended to be a reality by the millennium, was of a £57m centre to the east of the site, with the A303 buried in a tunnel leaving the stones in green and sheep-nibbled tranquillity. That collapsed when the government abandoned the tunnel on cost grounds, the estimate having soared to £500m, and launched another consultation.

In true Stonehenge style the announcement came five months late for the promised December decision, and the projected cost has already risen to £25m from the £20m estimate of a year ago.

Barbara Follett, the culture minister, described Stonehenge as "absolutely at the heart of our national history and heritage", but added: "Everyone agrees, however, that the way it is presented to visitors is far short of ideal. Consensus on how to improve visitor facilities has eluded stakeholders for far too long, and so I am delighted that we now have plans to move forward."
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