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Thursday, 28 July 2022

Stonehenge Alliance want a longer tunnel....but who will pay for it?




This is a good response from Geplus :  https://www.geplus.co.uk/news/a303-stonehenge-comments-invited-on-national-highways-latest-responses-27-07-2022/ 

It's for those of us who may be interested in a more technical explanation, but don't want to get into the nitty gritty on the Infrastructure planning Inspectorate web page and have to read through 11 documents each over 32 pages long.   Basically, it explains in easy terms, and the cost there in, why the request by Stonehenge Alliance for a longer tunnel will not benefit anyone including the World Heritage Site (WHS)   Mind you, https://stonehengealliance.org.uk/our-campaign/petition/ are using supporters money and paying supposed "specialists" to wade through all these documents on the IP site to find minute detail just to delay any decisions by the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps MP    The majority of these "supporters" don't live where we live, don't live in Wiltshire and possibly don't even know where the WHS is to be found....and may even live in other Countries or Continents.

You can do your own research if you want to here: https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/projects/south-west/a303-stonehenge/?ipcsection=docs&stage=6&filter1=Re-determination&filter2=Re-determination+Consultation+4+responses+%2820+June+2022%29  



 

Wednesday, 27 July 2022

For once, Covid may be useful....

https://staga303.blogspot.com/2021/08/scaremongering-again-anything-to-delay.html

I posted that blog in August last year and here..... again, https://stonehengealliance.org.uk/ are trying everything within their power to delay decisions or even block progress.   This has just come in to me as a follower....In this case, Covid may well be a welcome guest......

 Stonehenge Alliance campaign update....

Re determination Consultation: meeting the 3rd August deadline 

 
"The 
Transport Secretary queried a number of specific points raised by various interested parties including ourselves last April.  National Highways has responded in several lengthy documents and, in turn, comments from Interested Parties have been invited by the Transport Secretary by 3rd August.

We are working with special advisers to meet this very tight deadline, not helped by COVID and summer holidays.  As a result we have not yet been able to formulate key points for a supporter's response as hoped. 

We have received enquiries from some supporters about this.  However, at this stage, weight of numbers isn't needed so we trust that our responses will be sufficiently comprehensive to reflect most of your concerns.  We will share these in due course.


We're all looking forward to a summer break!"


Re determination Catch Up

The reasons for refusing the resubmitted DCO are explained in detail in our specialists' responses on various aspects: from legal arguments about the status of this process to the risks from groundwater disruptions at Blick Mead. 

It's papers like these that are at the heart of our campaign.  You can read our 
blog here.  

ABOUT THE STONEHENGE ALLIANCE

The Stonehenge Alliance is a group of non-governmental organisations and individuals that seeks enhancements to the Stonehenge World Heritage Site and opposes development that would cause it significant harm..  More about us 
The petition against the road has almost reached 220,000 signatures.  You can sign and share it  here.

 

 

 

 

Here's where you can find the request for responses from Grant Shapps MP Transport Secretary....

"REQUEST FOR COMMENTS FROM ALL INTERESTED PARTIES   In response to the questions in the Secretary of State’s letter dated 20 June 2022 the Applicant has provided several documents in response. The Secretary of State acknowledges the responses to his consultation letter of 20 June 2022 and would now like to invite comments from all interested parties on the information provided by the Applicant The deadline for any response is 3 August 2022. Responses to the matters outlined in this letter should be submitted by email to: A303Stonehenge@planninginspectorate.gov.uk.   If you will have difficulty in submitting a response by the consultation deadline, or difficulty submitting a response by email, please inform the Case Team. The responses will be published on the project web page for the A303 Stonehenge DCO on the Planning Inspectorate’s website as soon as possible after the above deadline at: https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/projects/southwest/a303-stonehenge/ 
This letter is without prejudice to the Secretary of State’s decision whether or not to grant development consent for the A303 Amesbury to Berwick Down and nothing in this letter is to be taken to imply what that decision might be." 

Friday, 22 July 2022

A303 Dual carriageway? Here's the reason why NOT!

 Welcome to my "traffic light map"....  oops! not supposed to call it that! 


National Highways want it known as....."The Heritage Map".... but I figured the majority of folks who read this blog, wouldn't open the post with that boring title, so I must bow to them in their infinite wisdom and call it by it's proper name "Heritage"!

There are two maps - one red and one green and between them both, in a simple way, they show various "splats" which represent still in place, monument large and small along the route of the present A303.   This would be destroyed in the making of an on-line extra road, and so puts to bed all the hyperbole and comments such as "why can't they just put another road along side the present A303".  "Why can't they just construct a berm to shield Stonehenge from view".  The maps show the adverse and beneficial effect of leaving the road as is, or going under ground - 50 meters underground....i.e. well below the disturbance of said monuments, of which 175 are designated scheduled monuments and still in place.

When you open the piece from National Highways, the maps show very little monument in the area of the dual carriageway heading west from Countess roundabout....this is because of course, all of that would have been discovered in the late '60's when the Amesbury by pass was built in a 90 foot cutting and completed early '70's.   It shows also, there is very little to be found in the area where the western portal would be constructed, should a tunnel be agreed.



https://nationalhighways.co.uk/our-roads/a303-stonehenge/archaeology-and-the-a303/our-heritage-impact-assessment-explained/



So! without a doubt.....a dual carriageway is OUT!

Wednesday, 20 July 2022

Archaeologists provide their view on going underground.....

Lets finally put to bed all this balderdash of what may or might be happening with the....as yet unproven artifacts on the World Heritage Site (WHS)

This is a link to dissertations of those in the know, rather than those of the know not's.....

 https://nationalhighways.co.uk/our-roads/a303-stonehenge/latest-news/festival-of-archaeology-july-16-july-31/


https://youtu.be/n2BsCV65ocg

https://youtu.be/Y-ol0oWTsMI?t=4

Wednesday, 13 July 2022

Drivel, guff, poppycock, balderdash......

 Urgent: Stonehenge Alliance Campaign Update | The Heritage Journal (wordpress.com)

If you take the time to open this and read the drivel within, you'll have wasted 2 minutes of your time that could have been spent more creatively!

Say Stonehenge Alliance..."Our own views on this matter are that less damaging options should be explored, including non-road engineering solutions....." (rail then....it's all on the flat of course! or maybe zip wires to the West Country 😂)
And yet more drivel.... "Let’s make sure that this government, and future governments, are under no doubt about the unacceptability of driving a damaging dual carriageway and tunnel through the Stonehenge World Heritage Site."

We say...... Surely, traffic on the move, rather than standing for hours in a queue, produces less carbon and therefore is less damaging to the area around the WHS.
What these naysayers fail to take on board is that actual people live around the WHS and need to be considered at some point. Yes, it would certainly be an excellent idea to reduce traffic around Stonehenge....shall we do it next Thursday then??
Urgent: Stonehenge Alliance Campaign Update

Wednesday, 22 June 2022

So what rabbit will they pull out next......

This link from the Planning Inspectorate https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/projects/south-west/a303-stonehenge/?ipcsection=docs&stage=6&filter1=Re-determination&filter2=Re-determination+Consultation+3+responses+%2829+April+2022%29   has the Responses to the Re-determination of the DCO regarding carbon budgets.   There are just 22 responses with only 2, including my own, which were positive toward fixing the A303.

The majority of the remainder came from followers of https://stonehengealliance.org.uk/ (SHA) and of course the 18 and a bit page diatribe from Stonehenge Alliance themselves, who continually generate shed loads of pap!   A few other responses preferred to leave no comment...so hopefully, we can assume those are in favour of the Project.

This is the link to my letter to the Inspectorate: https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/wp-content/ipc/uploads/projects/TR010025/TR010025-003610-Janice%20Hassett.pdf   requesting an air quality count be carried out in our village of Shrewton, since from now till late September, we suffer Rat Run traffic most days of all weeks till the end of summer, then it all starts again at the Autumn break and on to Christmas.   Remember those figures from a previous blog of 169,000 vehicles in one month - August using both London Road 6-8 meters wide and on into our High Street just 6 meters in width?  This traffic affects our health, our privacy and quality of life.  As well as bad air quality, we have litter thrown from vehicles, bad attitude and very often hand gestures to local people....Unfortunately, there is an element of these Rat Runners who seem to forget that they are the ones cutting through and we have to live with it constantly!

Here's just one excerpt from someone against the Project.....

"For the attention of the A303 Stonehenge Case Team I am responding as an Interested Party and would be grateful for confirmation you have received this submission. I reiterate that I represent in my capacity as an Archdruid, the Female Druids United, the environmental voluntary network Sacred Grove Western Isles and the free access to Stonehenge campaigning group Open Access to Stonehenge and we continue to OBJECT to this Planning Application. There are no elements of this proposed development project, that I nor those I represent, can support. The tunnel would bring permanent archaeological and conservation damage to the WHS and deny free public amenity both to the public and those who hold Stonehenge and its environs as a sacred temple and landscape"   

Whilst everyone is entitled to have an opinion, I would draw this person to the detail in this blog entry from https://staga303.blogspot.com/2021/12/myths-and-mythunderstandings.html dated 22/12/21 but I'm afraid these people never look at the wider picture and are not prepared to look at another view point or how local people are affected day on day!   All they want is their beloved World Heritage Site (WHS) protected from apparent damage which cannot be proved while at the same time, ignoring the elephant in the room.....it's already extremely damaged with the A303 running right through the middle, cutting the WHS in two.   Methinks they need to study the facts and the outcome, before claiming that piece of land as their own.....it belongs to everyone!!! 


Following on from the 22 Responses issued..... today, Stonehenge Alliance have yet again requested that  DFT seek further information from https://nationalhighways.co.uk/our-work/a303-stonehenge/ this coming from their "Consortium of Stonehenge Experts"  who can't find 4 topics within the myriad of files and documents making up the Project to fix the A303, which are of concern to these supposed "experts".  We already came across these guys a number of years ago....remember my blog dated: 28/09/19 SHA and their Experts?    The fact that National Highways need to reply to this request by 27th June must mean surely that things are moving on apace....this date has been amended to 11th July.

However, should SHA feel that the whole thing is slipping through their fingers....one does wonder...what rabbit they'll pull out of their ever burgeoning hat next....?


 



Saturday, 28 May 2022

The jigsaw is coming together......

 This very important update has come in from 


The following news will have the ripple effect for local businesses who will benefit hugely.  

Provided the Transport Secretary gives the go a head, and when the project begins to progress, people coming into the area for work will require somewhere to eat, stay and relax, so hotels, pubs and restaurants are part of this, which means employment in our area is bound to increase.  Hair will need to be cut, this news is good for doctors, dentists and all number of other businesses will benefit.

School children have not been forgotten either because the intention is for seminars to take place providing future job opportunities for leaving age students, information and interaction for younger children expanding their knowledge on a huge number of subjects, including how the scheme will affect wild life and fauna on the World Heritage Site when the road is finally removed!  Local people will be given the chance to "get their hands dirty" and assist with certain archaeology digs around the area..... See my post of 19th February 2020 https://staga303.blogspot.com/2020/02/calling-all-budding-archaeologists.html 

And for those who may not have read the post in full, and think that local people will miss out on the construction side.... see this piece here: 

"The joint venture comprises internally renowned companies FCC Construcción, WeBuild and BeMo Tunnelling. 

They will be making best use of UK skills by using a range of local, regional and national suppliers and contractors to help them deliver the scheme, and will be supported with a design partnership made up of Atkins, Jacobs and the Spanish company, Sener."

On completion, people living locally to the present A303 will, in years to come, have the peace they expected when they came to live in villages such as Shrewton and Winterbourne Stoke but in recent times, has not been the case sadly.

Latest news on the A303 Stonehenge tunnel project

We really enjoyed meeting some of you at our pop up “chatty van” events in Wiltshire. Over 300 people came to visit us, and we hope to speak to many more of you at future pop events.

We are also pleased to have selected MORE joint venture as our Preferred Bidder for our £1.25 billion contract for the construction of the tunnel and roads for the A303 Stonehenge scheme. The announcement follows a 2 ½ year comprehensive procurement process with shortlisted tenderers developing their design solutions for the project.

The planning application for the transformational scheme is still pending re-determination by the Secretary of State for Transport, following the quashing of the decision to grant the Development Consent Order.

MORE JV have enlisted a world class consortium with Atkins, Jacobs and Spanish designer Sener acting as the design joint venture.

The Main Works Contract covers the construction of the proposed tunnel’s civil, structural, mechanical, electrical and technology components, including the tunnel boring machine, along with the approach roadworks and structures and the environmental components of the five-year construction phase.

Derek Parody, National Highways’ Project Director for the A303 Stonehenge scheme, said: “The contract will only become live once the Secretary of State has concluded the planning process.

“The announcement of a preferred bidder in no way pre-empts any decision, and once that is finalized, and should the Development Consent Order be granted, having a contractor in place will put us in the strongest possible position to deliver this transformational scheme and deliver the benefits we know it can.

“The scheme will not only unlock congestion along this vital A303 route, but also conserve and enhance the Outstanding Universal Value of the World Heritage Site, and the joint venture will bring world class expertise to the construction of the tunnel and the roads.

“We’re pleased we have now identified our contractors, they are internationally renowned and they will also be making best use of considerable UK skills by using a range of local, regional and national suppliers and contractors to help them deliver the scheme.” 

To prepare for the construction phase, National Highways has been working closely with the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership, Business West, the Federation of Small Businesses, Salisbury and District Chamber of Commerce and Salisbury BID, and has also partnered nationally with the Supply Chain Sustainability School to provide free online training.

This helps smaller companies to up skill and places them in a better position to tender for work on larger infrastructure projects, such as the A303 Stonehenge upgrade.

The preliminary work will provide initial opportunities for local, regional and national companies within the first six months of construction starting.

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