Ian West, a former long-standing county and district councillor launched a petition in August 2021 asking the government to consider an alternative plan to the A303 Stonehenge tunnel. Since then it has attracted well over 500 signatures and is continuing to grow.
West, who lives in Winterborne Stoke said, “I am very pleased with the numbers we have reached in such a short period of time, I believe that it is an indication of the strong support it has in the local community. It is time to tell the national organisations what we as locals and the regular users of the A303 think.
“Wiltshire Council closed the A344 against their officers’ advice and local opinion, the construction of the new Longbarrow roundabout, built by National Highways (formerly Highway Agency has been a total disaster. It has resulted in the A303 reaching a standstill at peak times and completely blocks the A360 in both directions. This causes tailbacks into Winterbourne Stoke and sometimes nearly back to Wylye.
“The decision-makers did not listen to local views and what a mess they have created for the local villages from Bulford, Durrington, Shrewton and beyond. Let’s show them what we think if you have not signed the petition please do so”.
The petition calls on Grant Shapps and the government to withdraw from the tunnel project because of the environmental damage it would cause to the countryside.
West states that the soil from the planned tunnel construction will be brought to the village of Winterbourne Stoke and spread across farmland. This will elevate the bypass 30 metres higher in the air than it needs to be, having a detrimental effect on the landscape, noise levels and local community in the village which would leave an appalling legacy for the future.
The petition states: “We believe the High Court judge who quashed Grant Shapp’s approval to grant the Development Consent Order for the A303 / Stonehenge tunnel made the correct decision and that an alternative solution exists that can be implemented faster than the tunnel. This would be in the best interests of local residents and the wider public“.
It goes on to say: “We support the dualling of the A303 on its present line in a shallow cutting just deep enough to hide Stonehenge from the view of motorists. This would ensure centuries’ old view of the stones would be protected. The scheme would be completed much quicker than the tunnel, bringing faster relief from rat-running traffic through the besieged villages of Shrewton, Larkhill, Durrington and Bulford and other surrounding villages.
“The second carriageway would be constructed alongside the existing A303, which would reduce the need for road closures. The soil removed from the cutting would be less than from the proposed tunnel. Most of this could be dispersed on-site or accommodated on nearby MOD army ranges.
“The alternative scheme suggested could be constructed with less damage to the Stonehenge World Heritage Site, and Winterbourne Stoke, and would impact the area of least archaeology interest. We recognise this approach could result in the loss of World Heritage status for Stonehenge, but believe this is a price worth paying to achieve the correct outcome for local villages, motorists, the economy and the government.
“Finally, the financial savings would be enormous in comparison to the tunnel scheme, which is costing £1.7 billion”.