Press release: People urged to have their say on A303 Stonehenge upgrade
Around 1,300 people attended a total of 14 public information events since consultation launched on 8 February, and this is the last chance for people to give their views on proposals to dual the 8-mile section of the A303 between Amesbury and Berwick Down.
Consultation on the proposals for the Highways England scheme was extended after two information events were curtailed by the severe weather of last month.
The rescheduled events were held at Mere and Salisbury last week, but consultation continues until 23 April, and anyone who would still like to comment can do so by visiting the scheme consultation page. The scheme to improve the A303 between Amesbury and Berwick Down includes plans for a 1.9-mile long tunnel past Stonehenge, a free-flowing dual carriageway and a much-needed bypass north of Winterbourne Stoke.
During the statutory consultation process, Highways England has exhibited more detailed plans and engaged with local communities, road users, local authorities, stakeholders and heritage groups.
Derek Parody, Project Director for Highways England, said:
We have enjoyed the opportunity to share our more detailed plans, and we are delighted with the response so far.
We would like to remind people that consultation on plans to relieve congestion on the A303 past Stonehenge is still ongoing and the feedback we receive from everyone is really important in helping us to finalise our designs.
The consultation website is still live and we would urge anyone who would like to comment on the proposals to do so before consultation ends on 23 April.
During this consultation period, representatives of Highways England have also met up with a delegation from UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) and the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS).
The aim of the three-day fact-finding mission was to explain how the designs of the proposed tunnel will bring together the World Heritage Site landscape currently split by the A303.
Since the last UNESCO visit early last year and the announcement of the preferred route for the scheme in September, Highways England has continued to work with heritage groups including Historic England, English Heritage, the National Trust, and experts in the field, including the Stonehenge Scientific Committee – a body of leading independent archaeologists – to ensure a new route is built sensitively to the World Heritage Site. The route was carefully chosen to avoid monuments and barrow groups, and Highways England’s modified plans also included moving the position of the western entrance to the tunnel to avoid conflicting with the Winter Solstice alignment.
Mr Parody said:
We were grateful to the representatives from UNESCO/ICOMOS who took time to be with us on a three-day visit to understand the scheme we are proposing. It was an excellent opportunity for us to explain how we responded to their previous recommendations and how the scheme is developing.
We look forward to the panel’s report in due course, which will help us further refine the scheme, as well as to all the feedback from all interested parties during the current public consultation.
Following consultation, the scheme will then progress through the formal planning process later this year. Subject to statutory approval, construction is planned to start in 2021.
Members of the public should contact the Highways England customer contact centre on 0300 123 5000.
Journalists should contact the Highways England press office on 0844 693 1448 and use the menu to speak to the most appropriate press officer.