Spanner in the works for those A303 Stonehenge tunnel plans

A303 west Amesbury - traffic jams queue - May 2016 (Mike Draper)

5:52am 8th February 2017

There's been a bit of awkward development in the plans to build that tunnel on the A303 at Stonehenge.

Historic England, the National Trust and English Heritage have said they're not happy with one part of it, and are calling for Highways England to rethink their scheme.

They've said the western end of the tunnel would be too close to an ancient burial ground at Normanton Down.

That's said to be an important barrow group of Neolithic and Early Bronze Age ceremonial and funerary monuments.

The three bodies will be meeting with Highways England today (Wednesday February 8th) to discuss possible options.

English Heritage, the National Trust and Historic England say they are however in favour of the tunnel idea in many ways, mainly because they feel it would 'open up more of the extraordinary ancient landscape to the public'.

They've also said the eastern end would help to restore the 'Stonehenge Avenue' - a long term aim for the World Heritage Site.

Stonehenge A303 Tunnel Opening 5 (Highways England)

One of the tunnel openings that's being proposed by Highways England

THE PLANS:

The complex plans that are under consultation at the moment have loads of different aspects - you can read much more on what's planned on our news page at www.spirefm.co.uk/news

There's also a video showing us exactly what the tunnel could look like on our news page at www.spirefm.co.uk/news

Winterbourne Stoke 40mph sign - A303 (3)

The plans also include a bypass for Winterbourne Stoke

Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Historic England said:

"The proposed A303 tunnel offers the best opportunity to resolve the traffic problems at Stonehenge and to reverse the environmental damage the present road causes to the World Heritage Site. The proposals could offer enormous gains, by reuniting this extraordinary landscpe. While the design and position of the western portal needs improvement, we welcome Highways England's willingness to listen to this. We will provide constructive advice on how this can be achieved."

Helen Ghosh, Director-General of the National Trust said:

"We are encouraged by the proposals put forward by Highways England for consultation but it is very clear that there's still more to do. The current A303 with its busy, noisy traffic ruins the setting of many prehistoric monuments in this world-renowned place. It makes it hard for people to explore a large part of the wider prehistoric landscape. A well located and designed tunnel would reunite the landscape, giving everyone better access and enriching their experience, as well as enabling nature to flourish. We, along with Historic England and English Heritage, will continue to work with Highways England as they develop and improve the scheme, and encourage others to add their views to the consultation."

HAVE YOUR SAY:

If you haven't see the plans for a dual carriageway and tunnel for the A303 at Stonehenge yet, today (Wednesday February 8th) is your final chance.

The last of Highways England's consultation events is being held in Amesbury this afternoon - that's taking place at Antrobus House in the town between 2.00pm and 8.00pm

The consultation itself continues though, through until March 5th - you can get involved on their website at highwaysengland.citizenspace.com

LISTEN:

You can hear more from local people about what they think of the plans on our news page at www.spirefm.co.uk/news

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