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21 September 2003
Stonehenge referred to public inquiry

Transport minister Alistair Darling has announced that, because of the number of objections to the proposed Stonehenge (England) traffic scheme (Archaeo News, 30 August 2003) there will be a public hearing beginning on February 17 2004. The deadline for objections to the proposals was September 18 2003. According to a spokesman for the Highways Agency a pre-inquiry meeting will be held in November to thrash out arrangements for the hearing, which is expected to last several weeks. Objectors will have a chance to present their cases and the inquiry inspector is expected to examine alternative solutions to the world Heritage Site’s traffic problems. These will include the ACT/Parker plan drawn up by Graham Parker and supported by the Salisbury branch of the Association of Council Taxpayers.
     Meanwhile it has emerged that Salisbury District Council will lodge a ‘holding’ objection even though it broadly supports the existing proposals. The Council is concerned about problems that may arise during the construction period, including maintaining access for cyclists and pedestrians, congestion, traffic delays and dust control. They also want to know how noise will be minimised for visitors to the site during construction work. And the Council has mounted a strong response to Highway Agency plans to close the Stonehenge tunnels once a month for maintenance, which would involve diverting A303 traffic through Countess Road and the Packway at Larkhill. The Council considers the diversionary route inappropriate and inadequate an suggests closing one tunnel at a time and a contra-flow system through the open tunnel.

Source: This is Amesbury (10 September 2003)

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