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Now Stonehenge loses planned visitor centre


THE GOVERNMENT'S decision to block construction of the A303 Stonehenge tunnel this week cost the World Heritage site its £67M visitor centre.

Salisbury District Council has refused English Heritage planning permission for the new centre because of concerns about access to the site.

The ruling came a week after the Department for Transport called a halt to the 12km road scheme after costs soared from £284M to £470M (News last week).

'We felt that they [English Heritage] had failed to demonstrate that there would be a safe access to the site and a minimal impact on the free fl ow of traffic on the A303.

'This has been exacerbated by the government's recent decision to review the roads scheme, ' said planning committee chairman councillor John Brady.

The council also said that English Heritage's plan to use a 'road train' to ferry visitors to and from the stones would disturb residents.

The visitor centre is planned for a site 3km from the World Heritage Site . It will be cut into the grassy landscape and the roof planted with strips of grass, making it appear to be below ground. Land trains would transport visitors from the new visitor centre to the stones.

English Heritage said it was 'very surprised and disappointed' by Salisbury's decision.

It has the right to appeal and if that happens there will be a public inquiry. It also has the right to re-submit its proposals, addressing issues surrounding the refusal.

English Heritage said it planned to resubmit the scheme at the earliest opportunity.

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