Stonehenge, the prehistoric stone circle in south-west England, has been given a £10 million ($16 million) grant towards providing a new visitor centre.
The money has come from proceeds from the National Lottery that are earmarked for heritage purposes.
Lady Andrews, the Chairwoman of English Heritage, which manages the site, said it was very grateful for the generous grant. “Not only does it help to narrow the funding gap for the project considerably, it also sends out a message of confidence about the benefits that the project will bring – to tourism, the local economy and the conservation and public enjoyment of Stonehenge and its landscape.”
The proposed centre would consist of a pair of single-storey areas of glass and timber about a mile-and-a-half (2.4 km) west of the stones. It would include exhibition and education facilities, a cafe, shop and toilets.
Stonehenge, constructed between 3,000 BC and 1,600 BC, and thought to have been used for a variety of religious ceremonies, is a World Heritage site. It attracts about 900,000 tourists a year, 70 per cent of whom come from abroad. However, visitors have long expressed disappointment – and sometimes astonishment – at the state of facilities there.
by Andy Moreton
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