A BATTLE between residents and Solstice celebrants could soon be coming to a head.

Every year Avebury is swamped by visitors flocking to the village’s sacred stones to mark the summer Solstice.

Many of those heading to the village take the opportunity to spend several days at the site.

And where they stay has long been a bone of contention.

Last autumn residents in the village were asked if they would back the creation of a temporary campsite in a questionairre circulated around the village.

Scott Green, the National Trust’s property manager at Avebury, said 85 villagers had responded to the consultation exercise.

“Theirs was the last vital response we were seeking in what we feel has been a very thorough review,” said Mr Green.

“It is clear from the results that there is recognition that some provision for temporary accommodation does need to be made, either inside or outside of the Word Heritage Site.”

The question of how to handle campers at Avebury during solstice has been about for years.

The problem became acute ever since annual solstice celebrations and free folk festivals at Stonehenge were halted.

Stopping events there meant that there has been increased attendance at Avebury.

And since then the number of people camping in every available square foot of space around the village has gone up – sparking the ire of residents.

Three years ago Kennet District council stepped in to mediate and said that ad hoc camp sites were illegal.

They also said that the car park did not have planning consent as a campsite and threatened the National Trust with legal action if it allowed overnight sleeping in vehicles.

Police banned parking on grass verges for several miles either side of Avebury and in previous years have towed offending vehicles.

Last autumn the National Trust asked villagers how they would feel about the creation of a formal campsite as well as asking for other ideas for how to handle the campers.

Mr Green said: “Although there is no definitive outcome, the trend of responses points towards the continued use of the overflow car park for a limited number of tents as being the least offensive option.”

Other suggestions made in the responses included improving fencing to protect the nearest homes to the stone circle.

Mr Green said the regional committee of the National Trust would make a final decision in March.