Saturday, 6 August 2016

A344 Permissive Path - Letter to Wiltshire Council Planning Department

FAO Louise Porter

I have an interest in the various planning applications around Stonehenge and would ask that I’m kept informed as the progress of the provision of the permissive path on the route of the stopped up A344 which is due to be delivered in “Summer 2016”.  With the weather feeling autumnal already it would seem to be overdue especially as on inspection the re-vegetated bed of the old road appears to be in good shape.

This path is important to promote sustainable access to the stones by foot and bicycle from Amesbury and public transport hubs and was an integral part of the planning application which lead to the stopping up of the A344. The use of this route to pass and view Stonehenge is in itself an historic part of our heritage,  the poignancy of photographs of troops marching past on their way to war a hundred years ago are an example of the importance of maintaining this link.



I note that the Council officers have been instructed to work to achieve this path and that the gating at the end of the path at Byway 12 is to remain on the route of the old A344.

Thank you.

Tim Daw



I attach a few notes from the various relevant documents so that I have a collated collection of them.

Full details are in the Wiltshire Council planning application S/2009/1527

The Phasing of Works Document 
(http://unidoc.wiltshire.gov.uk/UniDoc/Document/File/Uy8yMDA5LzE1MjcsNjk5MTI4) has these details:

“8.0 PHASE 4 – STONEHENGE BOTTOM – SUMMER 2016

This phase involves the release of the re-vegetated A344 area. 

The existing/temporary stock fence and gates to the north of the original A344 are to be removed and turf used to patch any resulting disturbances in the grass surface. The areas of the permissible route that are formed using the ground reinforcement system are to be removed and patched using turf grown off site.

The permissible route is now along the northern edge of the re-vegetated A344.

9.0 PHASE 4 - STONE MONUMENT – SUMMER 2016

This phase involves the release of the re-vegetated A344 area.  

The existing bridge over The Avenue and areas of reinforced grass to the west and east of the bridge are to be removed and patched using species rich chalk grass turf grown off site.
The temporary barriers/fence, such as rope barriers, to the grassed A344 is removed.

The existing stock fence to the north of the A344 and around the former car park and hub facilities is removed and grass is patched with turf as needed to make the grass surface good.”

And from Planning Application 16/03988/FUL 

“Notwithstanding the submitted drawings showing the proposals for directing pedestrian arrivals in the vicinity of the A344 junction with Byway 12, prior to the commencement of the development hereby approved further details shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority demonstrating how pedestrians using the signed and lined route on the southern side of the A344 can access the Stones without having to cross the A344 or to walk within the route used by the Visitor Transit System to the east side of Byway 12. The approved details shall be implemented before the proposed bus turning arrangements are brought into effect."
http://unidoc.wiltshire.gov.uk/UniDoc/Document/File/MTYvMDM5ODgvRlVMLDc0MTg1NQ==

And under “Other issues raised that are not material planning considerations:”

“Some aspects of the original planning permission for the Visitor Centre are still not completed/conditions not complied with, e.g. the Right of Way from the Stock Bottom (A303) to the Stones, along the path of the old A344 is still not open for use, and there is no landscaped walk to the Stones from the Visitor Centre – [There is an ongoing enforcement case regarding some issues from the previous consent, however this is not of relevance to the current proposal].”


http://unidoc.wiltshire.gov.uk/UniDoc/Document/File/MTYvMDM5ODgvRlVMLDc1MTM3OA==

With regard to the promised path on the route of the grassed over A344 they had this to say:

“It was noted that the permissive path agreed as part of a legal agreement when the A344 was originally closed, was further down the site and did not form part of this application.....Although the location of the pathway connected to the A344 promise was outside of the application area, it was felt that Officers should work to achieve it. “

ADDED 15/8/16
From: STONEHENGE SUMMER SOLSTICE 2016 ROUND TABLE GROUP MEETING MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 7 th July 2016 AT ANTROBUS ARMS HOTEL, AMESBURY

Q: When does EH apply for closures to the A344 diversion?
A: The A344 has been permanently closed for the past 3 years, this occurred when the visitor centre was relocated. The right of way will be opened when the surface of the grassed over section can withstand the footfall, as agreed in the planning permission.

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