The new coalition government withdrew its contribution of £10m towards the Stonehenge Project on 18 June. Shortly afterwards, despite legal representations from the Stonehenge Alliance, Wiltshire Council granted planning permission for the Stonehenge visitor centre scheme. Although English Heritage has resolved to try to obtain the lost £10m from alternative sources outside Government, it is understood that the money has not yet been secured.
In any event, it is now accepted that the Olympic deadline for completion of the project will not be met.
Meanwhile, English Heritage is proceeding with its application for a Stopping-up Order for the A303/ A344 junction: advertisement and consultation are expected shortly. It is generally assumed that the application will lead to a Public Inquiry which may run alongside or immediately before an Inquiry into the already advertised Traffic Regulation Orders relating to the control of motorized traffic within the World Heritage Site. The Stonehenge Alliance, with RESCUE, considers that the junction closure ought to go forward, since it would considerably improve the immediate surroundings of the henge and allow for a more flexible approach to traffic and visitor-management until a long-term solution is found.
Kate Fielden, Stonehenge Alliance