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Stonehenge Visitor Centre scheme ditched

Denton Corker Marshall’s plan for a Stonehenge Visitor Centre has been killed off by a government decision not to build a proposed bypass under the historic site.

The practice’s £67 million visitor centre, spearheaded by English Heritage (EH) and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, won planning consent in March, but its future had always hung on a high-priced tunnel being built to protect the Wiltshire monument from heavy traffic.

Last week Transport Minister Tom Harris ended nearly 15 years of speculation over a new visitor centre when he announced his department would not be pursuing the tunnel proposal, arguing it did not represent ‘best use of taxpayers’ money’.

EH said it was ‘very disappointed’ the scheme had been dropped, adding: ‘The project was the best and most practical means by which the agreed vision for the Stonehenge World Heritage Site could have been achieved.’

Edward Cullinan Architects originally won a competition to design the Stonehenge Visitor Centre in 1992, but this proposal was abandoned by EH in July 1996, following a decision to re-tender the centre as a PFI project.

Australian firm Denton Corker Marshall won a subsequent contest to design the centre in March 2001. The practice was unavailable to comment.

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