New coach park plans for Stonehenge

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The famous stone circle’s coach parking facilities had been called into question after the construction of a new visitor centre. ENGLISH HERITAGE
The famous stone circle’s coach parking facilities had been called into question after the construction of a new visitor centre. ENGLISH HERITAGE

If approved, the plans will bring a permanent and much-improved area for coaches to park, drop off and pick up passengers visiting the site

English Heritage has submitted a planning application for a range of permanent improvements to the existing coach park at Stonehenge.

The plans follow on from a temporary coach park already on-site, which the charity said has helped to ease parking, congestion and safety issues. It expects the improvements to provide a longer-term solution to better accommodate visitors – around 1.3 million per year.

The key elements of the proposals are:

  • The creation of a newly-designed coach park with a more streamlined layout and permanent spaces for up to 53 60-seater coaches. It will simplify traffic management, arrival and departure procedures, ease congestion, meet projected demand for coach parking in the longer term and provide safer pedestrian access;
  • A new Group Reception Building with exclusive WC facilities for group visitors – almost doubling the number currently on site. An internal ticket and audio guide collection area with more till points will simplify and speed up ticket/audio guide collection and help visitor flow; and
  • A new Visitor Transit Shuttle pick up point exclusively for groups will be located next to the Group Reception Building – so groups can go directly from coaches to the Stone Circle at peak times. Coupled with an improved drop off/pick up layout at the Stones, the changes will allow for up to 900 visitor journeys in each direction every hour at peak times – compared with a current maximum of 600.

Kate Davies, Stonehenge’s General Manager, commented: “The temporary expanded coach park which has provided extra parking for more than 20 coaches over the past year, has proved to have made a very substantial difference to the efficiency of our operation at Stonehenge and brought benefits to all our visitors. It has also been welcomed by our travel and tourism colleagues bringing their tour groups to us.

“But permission for this temporary parking expires in 2017.  So we are now seeking to introduce a sustainable longer term and permanent solution, which also addresses other pressure points on site that have impacted negatively on our ability to fully offer world class facilities at this leading UK attraction.

“Our own experience since we opened our new facilities at Stonehenge in December 2013, together with feedback from industry colleagues and visitors and extensive research, has shown that these key improvements could make a massive difference in the future, whilst maintaining the integrity of the World Heritage Site.

“We very much hope that we will be given the necessary permission to implement them.”