Drivers face traffic carnage near popular tourist site with 'incredibly damaging' three-month road closure

Drivers face traffic carnage near popular tourist site with 'incredibly damaging' three-month road closure

WATCH: Behind the scenes of the National Highways M25 work

Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves

Published: 23/05/2024

- 13:20

The three-month road closure was introduced at the start of April

Drivers travelling to a major tourist attraction in England could be met with massive levels of traffic chaos after a legal block was placed on a massive development project.

Save Stonehenge World Heritage Site (SSWHS) has secured a Court of Appeal hearing after challenging the £2.5billion road scheme through Stonehenge as it appeals for a judicial review into the scheme.

After a previous application was rejected, a judge has said there is "compelling" reasons to grant the SSWHS an appeal in its second attempt.

Stonehenge, which is a World Heritage Site, has been supported in its plan to block the scheme by UNESCO, five planning inspectors and over 230,000 people.

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Traffic outside Stonehenge

The £2.5billion road project now faces a legal challenge


National Highways originally announced in March that it would be temporarily closing a road in Wiltshire ahead of the A303 Stonehenge upgrade.

It warned that the road needed to be closed to facilitate the power supply for future construction of the tunnel in the long term.

After the Easter bank holiday weekend at the start of April, National Highways said it would shut a section of the A360 between the junction of The Avenue and Longbarrow junction on the A303.

Drivers have been warned to prepare for potential traffic disruption as the work gets carried out given that more than 1.3 million people visit the iconic landmark every year.

John Adams, chair of the Stonehenge Alliance and one of the three directors of SSWHS, said it was "extremely good news" for locals and those supporting the cause.

He continued, saying: "All those who care passionately about our cultural heritage can breathe a sigh of relief. We now have a new opportunity for the Government decision to be thoroughly scrutinised.

“This road scheme would be incredibly damaging to Stonehenge World Heritage Site. Yet, the Government doesn’t seem to care and is desperately trying to bulldoze through this decision before it is thrown out of office.”

National Highways initially warned that it would take far longer to complete the roadworks if they were temporarily closing the road, and said the full closure would be more appropriate.

Locals in and around the area said that they would be kept informed of any changes to the A360 closure scheme by National Highways and Wiltshire Council.

Rowan Smith, solicitor at Leigh Day, the law firm representing the SSWHS, said: “This news is very encouraging for our client.

"In granting permission to appeal, the Court of Appeal acknowledged the scale of public interest around ensuring that a decision about plans for Stonehenge is lawful.

“The Court said there is a compelling reason for an appeal hearing. Our client is looking forward to presenting arguments about the fairness of the decision-making process relating to the future of Stonehenge as well as compliance with international law protecting the World Heritage Site.”


The road plans have been met with widespread criticism from locals


The road scheme was first quashed in July 2021 following the SSWHS's first legal battle, which prompted the Government to review the application, granting another development consent order (DCO).

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