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Stonehenge centre funding pulled

A planned visitor centre in Stonehenge has become the latest victim of the Government’s public spending cuts.

The Government had promised £10M of funding for the £25M project on the prehistoric World Heritage Site near Amesbury in Wiltshire but an official announcement on Thursday stated that the cash had been pulled.

The Government added however that if non-state funding was found the project can still go ahead..

English Heritage insisted the withdrawal of the funds did not necessarily mean the end of the plans but added that it is “extremely disappointed” with the new coalition’s decision.

Last year the conservation group announced its plans to revamp visitor facilities around Stonehenge. It wants to create a shop, cafe and toilets in two single-storey glass and timber buildings around a mile and a half from the standing stones, which would be linked by a transport system.

The English Heritage plans include shutting off the nearby A344 road.

Ministers have already approved the proposals in principle, which are just the latest in a long line of planned projects for the ancient site.

Two plans were put forward in 2000. One proposed to get rid of the roads from around Stonehenge by switching the nearby A303 location to make it run under a tunnel and the other proposed to move all facilities for visitors well away from the stones and to a different location.

The Government however said in 2007 that the projected cost of constructing the A303 tunnel was at the £500M mark and pulled the plug on the proposals.

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