The proposal for the Stonehenge tunnel’s western portal needs improvement, heritgate bodies said today.
English Heritage, Historic England and the National Trust have given their initial feedback for the proposed A303 Stonehenge Tunnel consultation.
The proposals are for a 2.9km long tunnel which will take traffic away from the A303 close the Stonehenge World Heritage Site (WHS).
The groups generally support the plans, saying moving the A303 underground would allow the ancient processional route called Stonehenge Avenue to be reinstated and reunite the north and south sides of the monument.
But they said the western portal plans are “cause for concern”. Their problem lies in its proximity to a group of ancient burial mounds called the Normanton Down Barrow Group, part of the reason why the site has World Heritage Status. The groups say they will provide feedback to Highways England on this in its detailed consultation response to the portal’s position and design.
“This proposal is a big step in the right direction. We have already seen the benefits of removing the old visitor facilities and grassing over the A344. The proposed tunnel could complete that transformation and finally do justice to our greatest prehistoric monument, dramatically improving its setting and reconnecting it with the wider landscape. We do have concerns about particular aspects of the proposals which we will share with Highways England and we will continue to look carefully at the plans as they evolve,” said English Heritage chief executive Kate Mavor.
A Highways England spokesperson said: “We are working closely with key organisations within the World Heritage site, and we will continue to find the best solution possible to improve journeys for drivers while also protecting Stonehenge.
“The consultation on plans to relieve congestion on the A303 is currently ongoing and feedback we receive from everyone is really important in helping us to refine our proposed option.”
The consultation finishes on March 5.