The Stonehenge Alliance is a group of non-governmental organisations and individuals that seeks enhancements to the Stonehenge World Heritage Site (WHS) and opposes development, that will cause it significant harm.
In December 2014 the Government announced new proposals for dualling the A303 at Stonehenge, to include a 2.9km tunnel which would leave the landscape severely damaged to each side. The Alliance is concentrating its efforts on opposing this proposal and indeed any road scheme that would cause further damage to the WHS. We suggest that if road widening is to be found necessary, any tunnel involved should be at least 4.5km long or, ideally, even longer so that there should be no further damage to the irreplaceable archaeological landscape of the WHS.
The Alliance was originally constituted in 2001 to oppose the Highways Agency’s scheme for widening the A303 between Amesbury and Berwick Down to include a short, 2.1km bored tunnel close to the Stones and 2.4km of above-ground dual carriageway within the Stonehenge World Heritage Site (WHS). That scheme, examined at a Public Inquiry in 2004, was abandoned by the Government in 2007 owing to cost and unforeseen technical problems relating to tunnelling close to the surface through ‘soft chalk’.
Since then, the Alliance has concentrated its efforts on helping to achieve closure of the A344/A303 road junction (finally undertaken in 2013) and arguing for small-scale improvements to safety and traffic flow on the A303 – which we have not yet seen fully implemented. We also argued for a sustainable new visitor centre and are disappointed that this facility and its large vehicle parks were not located outside the WHS as we had suggested. In the event, a large tract of hitherto open countryside in the WHS is visually blighted by development and problems have arisen with the visitor-transit system, requiring the use of buses instead.
We have objected to recent proposals to extend the tarmac on the visitor-car park and the increased size of the coach park, arguing that it would be more appropriate and satisfactory to use a park and ride system, perhaps located close to Amesbury, for the benefit of local businesses and to allow a reduction in traffic on the A303 as well as partial restoration of the WHS landscape.
The long-term supporter-organisations of the Alliance are:
- Ancient Sacred Landscape Network (ASLaN)
- Campaign for Better Transport (Formerly Transport 2000)
- Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) with Wiltshire Branch of CPRE
- Friends of the Earth (FOE) with FOE South West
- Rescue: The British Archaeological Trust
The Chairman of the Alliance is George McDonic MBE, BL, DIPLTP, FRTPI, DPA, FFB who took over the position from our founder and past president Lord Kennet in 2006. George McDonic, a planning consultant, is a past president of the RTPI, held the post of Chief Planning Officer when Wiltshire had a County Council, and is former chairman of Wiltshire CPRE.
Our new president is Tom Holland, author, classicist, historian and broadcaster. He is the presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Making History and served two years as the Chair of the Society of Authors. Tom was on the committee of the Classical Association. His book Rubicon: The Triumph and Tragedy of the Roman Republic, won the Hessell-Tiltman Prize for History and was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize. Persian Fire, his history of the Graeco-Persian wars, won the Anglo-Hellenic League’s Runciman Award in 2006.