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Stonehenge Visitor Centre plans thrown out

Denton Corker Marshall's proposed Stonehenge Visitor Centre has been dealt a second hammer blow in less than a week.

Yesterday Salisbury District Council threw out English Heritage's (EH) plans for a £35 million scheme on the historic site because of 'issues' with visitor access and a proposed 'land train' rail link.

This setback comes hot on the heels of a Department of Transport decision to investigate the spiralling costs of the controversial A303 tunnel project - a key component of the scheme.

The chairman of the council's planning and regulatory committee, councillor John Brady, said: 'The committee concluded that the applicants had failed to demonstrate that the height, width and length of the land train and track would not have an adverse impact on the residents, the World Heritage site and archaeology.'

EH admitted it was 'very surprised and disappointed' by the decision especially when approval for the project had already been recommended by the planning authority and had been backed by the council's Northern Area Committee at its meeting on 19 July 2005.

However, an EH spokesman maintained the body would press ahead with its proposals. He said: 'We believe that the grounds for refusal are ones which can easily be addressed and will be discussing with Salisbury District Council when to re-submit the scheme.'

by Richard Waite

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