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A303 tunnel plans go to public consultation

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How the A303 tunnel at Stonehenge could lookHow the A303 tunnel at Stonehenge could lookA public consultation over £1.6 billion plans to upgrade the A303 was opened this week.

As part of the creation of the South West Expressway – a dual carriageway linking the M3 and the M5 – the A303 past Stonehenge would go through a two mile long tunnel.

The government says the plans would significantly reduce journey times, while at the same time improving the environment around the 6,500 acre Stonehenge World Heritage Site, which is currently split in two by the road.

The scheme is also expected to support 120,000 extra jobs and 100,000 new homes across the region.

Improved transport links would be an obvious advantage to firms at the nearby Solstice Business Park.

A total of 14 public consultation events, offering people the chance to see and discuss the proposals with members of the project team, will be held:

  • Friday, 9 February – Antrobus House, 39 Salisbury Road, Amesbury SP4 7HH, 2pm to 8pm
  • Saturday, 10 February – Antrobus House, 39 Salisbury Road, Amesbury SP4 7HH, 11am to 5pm
  • Thursday, 22 February – Kennet Valley Village Hall (Avebury), Overton Road, Lockeridge, Marlborough, Wiltshire SN8 4EL, 2pm to 8pm
  • Friday, 23 February – Warminster Civic Centre, Sambourne Road, Warminster, BA12 8LB, 2pm to 8pm
  • Saturday, 24 February – Shrewton Village Hall, Recreation Ground, The Hollow, Shrewton, SP3 4JY, 11am to 5pm
  • Tuesday, 27 February – The Laverton Hall, Bratton Road, Westbury, BA13 3EN, 2pm to 8pm
  • Thursday, 1 March – Mere Lecture Hall, Salisbury Street, Mere, Wiltshire BA12 6HA, 2pm to 8pm
  • Saturday, 3 March – The Guildhall, Salisbury, The Market Place, Salisbury, SP1 1JH, 11am to 5pm
  • Thursday, 8 March – Society of Antiquaries, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W1J 0BE, 12 noon to 8pm
  • Friday, 9 March – The Manor Barn, High Street, Winterbourne Stoke, SP3 4SZ, 2pm to 8pm
  • Saturday, 10 March – The Manor Barn, High Street, Winterbourne Stoke, SP3 4SZ, 11am to 5pm
  • Tuesday, 13 March – Avon Valley College, Durrington, SP4 8HH, 2pm to 8pm
  • Wednesday, 14 March – Larkhill Primary School, Wilson Road, Larkhill, SP4 8QB, 4pm to 8.30pm
  • Friday, March 23, Antrobus House, 39 Salisbury Road, Amesbury SP4 7HH, 2 to 8pm

The scheme has the backing of The National Trust, English Heritage, and Historic England, although some conservationists and archaeologists are angry that the tunnel will be excavated through a large site that has not fully been examined.

Wiltshire Council has also given its backing to the scheme. Portfolio holder for strategic highways, Fleur de Rhé-Philipe said: "We are pleased this major milestone has been reached, and we are a step closer to a scheme which helps protect the World Heritage Site and also alleviates the current traffic issues on the A303 and in surrounding communities.

"It has taken a great deal of work to get to this stage, and I would encourage everyone to have their say in this important consultation. We will continue to work closely with Highways England and our partners to bring the scheme forward."

The consultation can be completed online at https://highwaysengland.citizenspace.com/he/a303-stonehenge-2018/consultation/intro/