Stonehenge is one of the most visited tourist attractions in the UK which in 2014 included David Cameron & Barack Obama. The lack of a dedicated visitor centre and the monument’s proximity to the road has long been a problem. The grassing over of the nearby A344 was suggested as long ago as 1927 and it has taken until very recently, with the aid of National Lottery funding, to remedy both of these concerns.
The £20m project consisted of a dedicated visitor centre for the UNESCO World Heritage Site that would cope with the increasing footfall that broke all records in 2014 reaching over 1.3m visitors. This was coupled with the nearby road being grassed over and dedicated car parking facilities next to the centre at Airman’s Corner, within walking distance of the world famous stones.
|Architect: Denton Corker Marshall LLP||Landscape Architect: Chris Blandford Architects|
|Product Installer: Woodmace Civil Engineering||Project Value: £27 million|
|Lead Time: 3-5 Days||Construction Period: 1 Year|
|Procurement Route: Traditional|
The visitor centre and its facilities need to be very robust to cope with such numbers and dedicated pathways and delineated parking areas were created using Kinley’s AluExcel edging. To minimise environmental impact the pathways were created using loose stone and the car parks were constructed with fully SUDS (Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems) compliant materials so that rainwater can quickly permeate the surface minimising ponding.
The aluminium edging is not only manufactured from recycled material but is incredibly robust and renowned for its longevity. The visitor centre also includes pathways to other attractions including 5 ‘Neolithic Houses’ built by volunteers. The development has been very well received winning several awards. The improvements to the surrounding landscape and new visitor centre at Stonehenge has won numerous awards including the 2014 Royal Town Planning Institute Award and the 2015 European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards. Considered as one of the top European heritage prizes, the award recognises the project’s outstanding achievement in conservation and contribution to best practice across Europe.
The projects environmentally sustainable credentials were considered by the local authority to be excellent and met both local and national planning policies in terms of sustainability.