Tuesday 8 November 2016

Stonehenge Permissive Path on the Route of the Old A344

I have been trying to get to the bottom of why this path is not yet open and Wiltshire Council have kindly answered my FOI request:


They have provided a lot of documentation but the highlights seem to be these emails:

From: Brown, David
Sent: 06 July 2015 14:37
To: Madge, Adam (Team Leader (South) Economic Development and Planning Wiltshire Council)
Subject: RE: Buses and footpath at Stonehenge
Hi Adam
Reference point 2 and the permissive path, you are correct that this grassed path remains closed to the public and diversion remains in place. This is a very sensitive matter for us due to contractual issues with the main contractor for the SEIP project who has continued to fail to complete the work to sufficient standards in accordance with the approved plans and specification. English Heritage are reviewing the situation and will be agreeing this week how to take forward the remediation. 
Referring to the attached map:
1.Area F is largely complete but requires final cultivation and seeding.
2.Area A requires more extensive cultivation and seeding.
3.Area B & C has not been completed to specification, the soil is too sandy in parts and requires remediation to improve the soil quality, partial topsoil and seed.
4.Area D has failed and requires remediation in the form of additional topsoil and seed. 
English Heritage are deeply disappointed that our supplier has failed to complete these areas in good time and failed to deliver the work to specification. The most significant of these areas which has the greatest impact is area D which requires extensive remediation before we can open this area to the public.
I am seeking a programme for the works mentioned above that is anticipated September and October this year (2015) due to the nature of the work being the best times for landscape and seeding, however, the work particularly to area D will require establishment before the path can be opened up to the public or the grass will simply fail; it is currently unclear to me the time required for this establishment but I would estimate this being 1 full year. The condition allows the footpath diversion to be in place until October this year, can you advise whether this could be extended for 1 year to enable us to complete the path reinstatement correctly? 
David Brown
Senior National Project Manager
English Heritage

From: Dominic Watkins
Sent: 18 April 2016 18:19
To: Madge, Adam
Subject: SEIP Condition 13 - Permissive Path

The Landscape Management Plan approved under condition 13 of planning permission S/2009/1527/FUL anticipated reinstatement of the permissive path between along the section of the former A344 between Byway 12 and the A303 at Stonehenge Bottom in ‘Summer 2016’.
English Heritage's Stonehenge site landscape manager has been monitoring establishment of the chalk grassland along the former A344. It is considered that the grass surface of the re-instated permissive path would not be sufficiently established to enable its use from Summer 2016. The advice is that two further growing seasons are required in order to create an established sward. Reinstatement of the permissive path this Summer is highly likely to result in erosion of the establishing chalk grassland.
For these reasons, English Heritage wishes to formally request an extension of time to October 2017 for reinstatement of the permissive path to allow the re-vegetated section of the A344 to fully establish.
Please can you advise if you require any further information to determine this request.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Dominic Watkins

To: Madge, Adam
Cc: Porter, Louise; Parker, Barbara;
Subject: RE: SEIP Condition 13 - Permissive Path
Date: 25 July 2016 11:19:12
On behalf of English Heritage, please find attached a formal request for a change to the Landscape Management Plan approved under Condition 13 in respect to an extension of time for reinstatement of the permissive path along the A344.
With regards to the requested section 73 application to vary Condition 27, please could you suggest some wording as to how the condition is to be varied. Once we have agreed the wording, I will arrange for the application form and £195.00 fee to be submitted as soon as possible.
Dominic Watkins

It is an historic route and should not be allowed to be forgotten:

1 comment:

  1. Personally, I think the whole issue is intimately linked to the outcome of the tunnel proposals. If the A303 is rerouted then there is a serious issue of further restoration, not to mention impact on access to the A303 from Amesbury.

    My logic says that there is a rationale for excluding vehicular access (except agricultural) in at least a triangular route immediately surrounding the stone monument area, at the same time as possibly replacing it with access further out on what will then be the old A303. So best leave it and come up with a comprehensive plan at a later time, for an all inclusive new restoration package and contract.

    The usability argument probably has merit - I'm not a local so can't say. But as a landscape professional I probably could have given you a professional opinion had I been commissioned to do so. I'm not sure what the rush is anyway Tim, but you are, for me, the sound board of local opinion, so I guess you wouldn't have made the FOI requests without some kind of local inspiration behind it.




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