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Councillor Calls for Public Enquiry into Closure of A344 at Stonehenge

January 15, 2015 9:27 AM

Residents in Shrewton and surrounding villages have welcomed the findings of the Stonehenge Traffic Routing Study, which has backed up their claims regarding significant increases in traffic flow on unsuitable rural lanes following the recent closure of the A344 at its junction with the A303.

The report, produced at a cost of £83,000 shows that at peak periods up to 1,700 vehicles in a 12 hour period have been using the High Street in Shrewton, a road used by pedestrians as it does not have a pavement in places and has a primary school directly accessed from it.

Local Councillor Ian West commented, "I am pleased that that the report has finally been completed. This report confirms everything local
residents have been saying since the A344 was closed and now gives Wiltshire Council more proof of the problem. Shrewton used to be a lovely rural village and now we have been turned into a rat-run.

"It was no surprise to local people how popular the new Stonehenge Visitors Centre has been and we all welcome the benefits for the local economy, but in my opinion we have a classic example of a major attraction being installed without the proper infrastructure in place to
support it.

"The closure of the A344, which has served the Till Valley for hundreds of years, paired with the so-called improvements to the now accident prone Longbarrow Roundabout has led to misery for local residents as they deal with the diverted traffic now forced onto unsuitable rural lanes.

"For many years Wiltshire Council had a firm policy in place which was no closure of the A344 until the A303 is duelled. This was changed
for some reason in June 2010, and despite the best efforts of local residents and myself we have never discovered what happened to bring about this.

"I have written to put some suggestions to Wiltshire Highways on some improvements that should be carried out as matter of urgency
and I have been working with local residents the Shrewton Parish Council and the local STAG group (Stonehenge Traffic Action Group) urging them to do the same.

"We are encouraged by the government announcement of the Tunnel Project and a by-pass for Winterbourne Stoke - but at best local residents will still face at least five years of hell before it is built.

"English Heritage's answer to the problem appears to be submitting two new planning applications. The first to extend the coach park by
another 25 spaces and the second to tarmac the present overflow car park. They simply want to build their way out of the problem, but they are only focusing their efforts on expanding the cause, and not dealing with the effect.

"And all of this after local residents have already been let down after assurances that a new booking system would have taken care of any
problems.

"This whole affair should be investigated by an Independent Inquiry before any more decisions are made."