The Telegraph and the BBC both report that King Arthur Pendragon, a druid, is to seek judicial review on religious grounds of a £15 parking charge introduced by English Heritage for visitors to Stonehenge during the Summer Solstice in June.
Visitors to Stonehenge can usually park at the World Heritage Site without charge, with a £5 refundable fee being levied during peak times; and Mr Pendragon contends that the £15 parking charge was in contravention of Articles 9 (freedom of thought, conscience and religion), 10 (freedom of expression) and 11 (freedom of assembly and association) ECHR and that, in effect, druids and pagans were obliged to “pay to pray” and should have been allowed to park without charge. English Heritage’s response was that “The Summer Solstice parking charge is not a ‘pay to pray’ but a ‘pay to park’ charge.”
At a preliminary hearing in Salisbury, Mr Pendragon was granted a full day’s hearing on the substantive arguments. A spokeswoman from English Heritage said: “This was a procedural hearing establishing the next steps and we look forward to presenting our full case at a later date.” No doubt: the hearing is expected to take place in April.
Was Stonehenge built by the druids? If not, I’m not clear why King Pendragon should have free parking – or maybe he’s claiming it for all of us?
Search me, guv. But to be serious, I suppose that if the charge is a violation of Articles 10 and 11 and not just of Article 9, then the matter goes beyond manifestation of religion.
Here in sunny Spain (today) I do enjoy reading your posts from time to time Frank.
Hope you are well and assume you attend meetings somewhere in London or elsewhere.
Hi Trevor (from gloomy N Lancs). I haven’t got to Meeting for ages and I’m beginning to feel very guilty about it. [Note to general readers: Quakers aren’t much interested in sin, but we seem to do guilt in a big way.]