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Council digs in heels over Stonehenge tunnel

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CONGESTION BUSTING plans for the A303 at Stonehenge are in disarray after local councillors voted to ignore schemes proposed by the government in a bid to cap costs.

Instead, at a cabinet meeting shortly before Easter, Salisbury District Council agreed to 'remain supportive' of the original 2.1km £510M bored-tunnel option.

Roads minister Stephen Ladyman canned construction of the bored tunnel in July 2005 after costs escalated from £248M and ordered the Highways Agency to come up with alternatives (NCE 28 July 2005).

But all these involve ploughing the A303 straight across the World Heritage Site (WHS) with either bypasses to the north or south, a cut-andcover tunnel or limited road and junction improvements (NCE 26 January).

Salisbury District Council has remained rmly opposed to any scheme that encroaches on the UNESCO site, a stance now reiterated by its cabinet.

'The cabinet did not wish to weaken the rationale for its position of support for the published scheme, and thus agreed that the council should not give the impression that it was prepared to entertain any alternative options, all of which would produce outcomes in conict with the WHS management plan and local plan policies, ' it said in a statement.

A public consultation on the alternative options nished this week.

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