The Big Mac could be coming to Stonehenge. In a move which will shock traditionalists, English Heritage chairman Sir Jocelyn Stevens has suggested that McDonald's be allowed to open a burger restaurant at the prehistoric site's new visitor centre.
Proposals - which also include electric buggies to transport visitors to the stones, and gift shops selling Stonehenge pencil sharpeners and Druid notepaper - have already angered locals in Wiltshire, and even some of Sir Jocelyn's fellow heritage commissioners.
Sir Jocelyn said yesterday: "Why not McDonald's? There should be a choice of restaurants appealing to all pockets and a choice of experience. The average time a visitor spends now at Stonehenge is 20 minutes. If you have a better experience - if there is more to see and do - you will stay longer. We want the visitor centre to become a destination."
Wiltshire Liberal Democrat county councillor Paul Sample said last night: "Sir Jocelyn's idea is crazy. Tourists don't want McStoneburgers or Chicken McDruids. They want a magical and mystical experience." Mr Sample, a former chairman of Salisbury Tourism Committee, added: "This is a World Heritage site and it should be a quality experience for visitors."
Richard Rogers, a Labour county and Salisbury district councillor, said: "All of English Heritage's plans seem to be towards commercialising Stonehenge and making a substantial income from it. There need to be refreshments at Stonehenge, but it is not an ideal venue for McDonald's or Burger King." And Tory Charles Blackwood said: "I think it would demean the character of the place."