Wiltshire

Villagers' concern over Stonehenge solstice parking charge

Summer solstice at Stonehenge, Wiltshire Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption In 2000, approximately 10,000 people attended the solstice at Stonehenge while in 2014, the figure was close to 40,000

Residents in villages within a "walkable distance" of Stonehenge are concerned they will be "inflicted with masses" of cars when parking charges are introduced at this year's Solstice.

English Heritage (EH) is bringing in a £15 charge per vehicle to encourage people to car-share or use the bus.

But, villagers in nearby Shrewton are worried revellers will park "all over the place" to avoid the £15 levy.

EH said it had "robust" plans in place for the events.

A meeting between residents and English Heritage, is due to be held later.

'Money-making operation'

Shrewton is around 2 miles (3.2 km) from the ancient site. According to residents, there has always been a parking issue and if EH charges "these high prices" it will exacerbate it.

Councillor Ian West, said: "It's very much a walkable distance. In the past they've had problems with blocking drives - so there's a real amount of concern."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption English Heritage said it had "robust" plans in place to deal with any illegal parking or where vehicles cause an obstruction

Parish councillor Alan Harris, described it as a "money-making operation".

"They're expecting a number of people to walk or to get there by any other means," he said.

"So, they're pretty much saying go park in Shrewton and walk here and you can get in for free."

But Kate Davies, Stonehenge general manager, said it was "strongly encouraging" people to come by public transport or to car-share.

"We have robust car parking and traffic management plans in place - any vehicles parked illegally or causing an obstruction will be removed by the police," she said.

In 2000, approximately 10,000 people attended the solstice, while in 2014, the figure was close to 40,000.

EH also pledged to keep access to the monument free during the celebrations, despite growing attendances.

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