Wiltshire

Tony Robinson: Stonehenge tunnel plans put site at risk

Tony Robinson at Stonehenge protest Image copyright PA

Actor and broadcaster Sir Tony Robinson has said plans for a tunnel near Stonehenge in Wiltshire are too "old-fashioned" in outlook.

The 70-year-old Time Team presenter joined anti-tunnel campaigners to fight the plans, saying they placed the area's wider archaeology at risk.

The protest by the Stonehenge Alliance was staged outside a consultation event in London earlier.

Highways England said it was working to find "the best solution possible".

The public consultation on its plans for putting the A303 into a 1.8-mile (2.9km) dual carriageway tunnel runs until 5 March.

Highways England says the move would cut congestion and improve journey times.

The scheme has the backing of English Heritage and the National Trust.

Speaking outside the Society of Antiquaries at Burlington House, Robinson suggested a longer tunnel.

He said: "I think the proposal we are being offered is a really old-fashioned one.

"It assumes what needs to be protected is that little clump of stones."

'Wiltshire Disneyland'

He said it was only over the past three decades archaeologists had begun to comprehend the wider significance of the site.

"That's a high-class Wiltshire Disneyland experience," he said.

Image copyright PA

"Once it's gone, we'll never get that back.

"If you were going to protect Buckingham Palace, you wouldn't put a tunnel in halfway down the Mall."

The Stonehenge Alliance wants other options to reduce traffic to be fully explored.

Spokeswoman Dr Kate Fielden said: "We want a genuine consultation with real choice.

"Both of Highways England's options involve huge and damaging new roadworks gouged into our most important ancient landscape."

A spokesman for Highways England said: "We fully understand the cultural heritage of the site and one of the broad objectives of the scheme is to help conserve and enhance the World Heritage Site by removing the sight and sound of traffic and make it easier to reach and explore."

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