1.         Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) (C 373bis)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1986

Criteria  (i)(ii)(iii)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger  N/A

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/373/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/373/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

N/A

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/373/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2011

On 1 February 2011 the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the property which sets out the progress made in the resolution concerning the closure of road A 344 and the issues related to the relocation of the visitor facilities.

The State Party report states that the Stonehenge Environmental Improvements Project (SEIP) was launched with a view of establishing a new visitor centre within the framework of a new management plan in 2009. The project is chaired by English Heritage.

In October 2009, English Heritage submitted a Full Planning Application to Wiltshire Council, including the following elements:

· the construction of the new visitor centre, parking and associated facilities at Airman’s Corner, within the property;

· the removal of existing visitor facilities and parking at the Stones.

The Wiltshire Council granted full planning permission for this application on 23 June 2010.

The State Party informs that the timeframe for the completion of the project will depend on funding. An alternative funding strategy of English Heritage to raise the £ 27 million required for the project has been approved in principle by the government. Currently, a grant of £ 10 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund towards the cost of the project has been secured by English Heritage. In addition, English Heritage will be allowed to access £ 2 million of historic reserves raised from philanthropic sources according to a press release of 4 April 2011 by the Department for Culture Media and Sport. Further funding of around £ 3.5 million will be made available for improvements to Highways Agency roads close to Stonehenge, subject to the completion of statutory processes and confirmed go-ahead of the Stonehenge improvements. In principle, the State Party plans to commence the construction works early in 2012 and to finalize them with the opening of the new visitor centre in July 2013.

a) Closure of A 344 trunk road

After Wiltshire Council granted the full planning permission, English Heritage presented to the Secretary of State for Transport applications for stopping and grassing over parts of road A 344 which runs immediately adjacent to the property between the main A303 road and Byway 12, some half a kilometre to the north, and the B 3086 road (near the proposed visitor centre) which are currently subject to public consultation and might become the subject of a public inquiry. These two public inquiries may take place at the same time. The visitor centre cannot be finalized until these road issues have been resolved.

b) Visitor facilities

Apart from the information concerning the full planning permission granted by Wiltshire Council, the State Party has not provided specific details on this issue.

c) Other current conservation issues

English Heritage have commissioned a condition survey of known archaeological sites within the property which will update previous condition surveys and provide a revised baseline for assessment of the condition of the property for the next round of Periodic Reporting. Natural England is carrying out a survey on the impact of burrowing animals on the World Heritage property and has commissioned further work on the research framework for the property.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies acknowledge the specific measures taken to ensure the implementation of the Stonehenge Environmental Improvements Project, in particular concerning the visitor centre and closing of road A344 between Stonehenge Bottom and Byway 12. However, the efforts put forth have been, as in previous years, rather administrative, whereas no physical progress has occurred on the site.

They are concerned that no details have been provided for the visitor centre scheme in terms of precise location within the property or details of its design. Nor has an impact assessment been supplied.

They note that the implementation of the planned projects depends partly on approval of traffic orders and mainly on the funding which remains to be secured and call upon the State Party to secure funding in order to start and complete the on-site works as planned.

No further report is requested for the next Committee session as the progress in the implementation of the projects will be outlined within the forthcoming Periodic Reporting Exercise for Europe and North America to be launched in 2012. The State Party is requested, however, to keep the World Heritage Centre informed about any progress or modification related to the road closure and the visitor facilities issues.

Decision Adopted: 35 COM 7B.116

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-11/35.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decision 33 COM 7B.129, adopted at its 33rd session (Seville, 2009),

3. Acknowledges the measures taken in the resolution of the road closure and the visitor facilities issues, in particular the approval of the English Heritage Full Planning Application by Wiltshire Council in June 2010;

4. Requests the State Party to provide the World Heritage Centre with details of the location and plans of the proposed visitor centre for evaluation by ICOMOS;

5. Notes that the funding for the implementation of the development project has almost been ensured;

6. Also requests the State Party to keep the World Heritage Centre informed about any development related to the road closure and the visitor facilities and to report any implementation activities within the Periodic Reporting exercise to be launched in 2012.