English Heritage's proposals to transform the setting of Stonehenge and the visitor experience received a major boost from the Heritage Lottery Fund today (19 November 2010) with a grant of £10 million.
Baroness Andrews, Chair of English Heritage, said: "We are tremendously grateful for this 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 transformational benefits that the project will bring - to tourism, local economy, and the conservation and public enjoyment of Stonehenge and its landscape.
"English Heritage is committed to delivering these much needed improvements. The announcement today will help in our ongoing efforts to close the funding gap for the project. Many of those whom we have approached so far have expressed strong support and we will move forward with discussions with many others in the next few months."
Dame Jenny Abramsky, Chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund, said:
"It's hard to think of a historic site that is more deserving of the Heritage Lottery Fund's support at the moment. As one of the UK's most important archaeological landmarks and a World Heritage Site, Stonehenge has been visited and revered for thousands of years. We're delighted we are in a position to support this exceptional project and finally give Stonehenge the investment it deserves."
The Garfield Weston Foundation which is also supporting the Stonehenge project, said: "The Foundation is delighted to support the much-needed and practical improvements designed by English Heritage. This is a perfect opportunity to improve people's experience and understanding of one of Britain's most famous monuments."
Stonehenge attracts some 900,000 visitors a year, 70% from overseas. The £27m proposal includes the building of new visitor facilities with enhanced exhibition and education space at Airman's Corner, 1.5 miles west of Stonehenge, and the closure of the A344 which runs immediately adjacent to the monument. There will be significant improvements to Stonehenge's landscape setting, with the stone circle finally being able to reconnect with its ancient processional Avenue.