Wiltshire

Druid takes Stonehenge parking charges to court

King Arthur Pendragon Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption King Arthur Pendragon believes the £15 parking fee at Stonehenge during the summer solstice was "an illegal charge"

A senior druid is taking legal action over summer solstice parking charges at Stonehenge because they "unfairly target" his religion.

King Arthur Pendragon believes the £15 fee, introduced this year for special events, was "illegal" and excluded 12,500 from the event.

Parking at the neolithic monument, managed by English Heritage (EH), usually costs £5.

Wiltshire Council, Wiltshire Police and English Heritage declined to comment.

Mr Pendragon has accused the three bodies of "conspiring" to restrict access to Stonehenge.

He said: "I normally lead the dawn ceremony at the solstice and this year I couldn't because I refused to pay."

The parking charge was introduced at the event on 21 June to encourage more people to car share or travel by bus.

But Mr Pendragon said he has a "right to go to Stonehenge four times a year" to worship and English Heritage are "supposed to open it up for free".

"Wiltshire Police, Wiltshire Council and English Heritage conspired between them by closing all the by-ways in and around Stonehenge to make it impossible for me to park anywhere save for their car park," he said.

"They charge £5 to their tourists for parking but they want to charge us £15, that is three times as much."

Image copyright PA
Image caption An estimated 23,000 people attended the neolithic site in Wiltshire in 2015 compared to just 12,000 in 2016

"What I believe is it's illegal under the European Convention on Human Rights and it's only because we're a minority religion that they feel they can get away with it."

Wiltshire Police, Wiltshire Council and English Heritage all confirmed legal proceedings had been lodged but it would be inappropriate to comment.

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