Wiltshire

King Arthur Pendragon granted Stonehenge 'pay to pray' court date

King Arthur Pendragon Image copyright PA
Image caption King Arthur Pendragon believes the £15 parking fee at Stonehenge was "an illegal charge"

A senior druid has been told he can take English Heritage to court to challenge "pay to pray" car parking charges at Stonehenge.

King Arthur Pendragon argued a parking fee of £15 for the 2016 summer solstice breached his human rights.

Parking at the Neolithic monument, managed by English Heritage (EH), usually costs £5.

A judge at Salisbury County Court granted Mr Pendragon a full hearing at a small claims court.

Image caption Other druids and pagans were at the court to support King Arthur Pendragon (right)

Mr Pendragon, who was joined by other druid and pagan supporters to protest outside the court, believes the £15 fee was "illegal" and excluded 12,500 from the event.

He told the judge at the allocation hearing that the claim was not about money or costs, but the fact it "unfairly targeted his religion".

Image copyright PA
Image caption An estimated 23,000 people attended the Neolithic site in 2015 compared to 12,000 in 2016

The increased charge was introduced to encourage more people to car share or travel by bus, but Mr Pendragon said he wanted to prove EH was wrong to turn him away when he refused to "pay to pray".

A spokeswoman for EH said: "This was a procedural hearing establishing the next steps and we look forward to presenting our full case at a later date.

"As legal proceedings are ongoing it would be inappropriate to comment further."

Mr Pendragon asked that the date for the full hearing does not clash with the spring or summer solstice.

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