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Ian Hamilton's absolute trust in the National Trust (Letters, NCE 24 February) is worthy but possibly misguided. It is questionable whether the Trust should lobby the government to spend over £200M of public money on the tunnelling of the A303 at Stonehenge, which, although impressive, is not worth such extreme protection. After all, the stones were re-erected in the 1920's which would now horrify archaeologists.

The Trust, as a large commercial organisation, has many vested interests and is not accountable to the general public, only to a partially appointed Council.

The Trust routinely lobbies on broad planning issues, while conducting the highly controversial sale of some of its land for lucrative housing development, such as the Cliveden development which raised objections from the local community and local authority. There are now many stakeholders like the National Trust in the planning process and their inevitably narrow remit needs to be weighed in the balance for appropriate and cost-effective development.

Peter Hinson (M), peter.hinson@care4free. net

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