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Stonehenge centre to go to planning

Proposals for the construction of a Stonehenge visitors’ centre are to be submitted today to Wiltshire council planners by English Heritage as part of a £25 million revamp.

Assuming planning permission is granted, work is expected to start in 2011, with the new visitor facilities scheduled to open in time for the 2012 London Olympics.

The proposal is for a centre at Airmen’s Corner, 1.5 miles west of the site near Amesbury in Wiltshire, and includes the closure of the nearby A344 road.

It has already been approved in principle by the Government, and English Heritage has named architectural firm Denton Corker Marshall for design and construction.

The scheme would feature a ‘delicately undulating canopy’ which sits ‘lightly in the landscape above a pair of self-contained pods - one transparent and mainly of glass, the other solid and mainly of timber’.

The plans had previously included the removal of roads around Stonehenge by placing the nearby A303 in a tunnel, and relocate visitor facilities to a new centre away from the Stones. However, the proposals were thrown out by the Government in 2007 because the scheme, which was estimated to cost around £500 million, was considered too expensive.

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