Summer On the A303

You might have noticed while out and about that there’s some work happening along the A303 between Amesbury and Berwick Down. Highways England is carrying out some more ground investigations surveys –  you can find out more information on what these works involve here: https://t.co/HHKcIEcXmJ As a member of the A303 Amesbury to Berwick Down Community Forum, Winterbourne Stoke Parish Council get regular updates from the Highways England  project team, and have an opportunity to put forward ideas or concerns our community may have. If you have any questions, or suggestions, please get in touch with Jim Carr the Parish Clerk (see contact details at the foot of the page), any of our Councillors, or you can email Highways England directly: a303stonehenge@highwaysengland.co.uk

On the other hand, the Commons’ Public Accounts Committee (PAC) say plans for the A303 scheme are at risk unless money for the project can be secured and have urged the Department for Transport (DfT) and Highways England to plan for what alternative financial arrangements could be used if the Treasury does not confirm long-term funding by the end of the year.

PF2 public-private funding was due to be used to finance the road – estimated by the National Audit Office to cost up to £2.4 billion – but in October last year Chancellor Philip Hammond cancelled future deals using that model.

The Treasury released funding of £21.5 million during 2019/20 to allow development of the project to continue.

A303 DCO: The Accompanied Site Inspection

If you had been keeping half an eye on the Planning Inspectorate website, you would have realised that today was the first (and possibly only) Accompanied Site Inspection that the A303 Stonehenge to Berwick Down scheme inspectors are going to make to our section of the A303.

This meant the inspection team was crammed on a coach with a collection of folks representing different groupings – mainly Stonehenge Alliance and others of their ilk who oppose the tunnel and any other solution that goes near the World Heritage Site. Cycling out to meet them seemed a much better use of the morning than sitting on a coach being blethered at by Highways England.

Somewhat perversely, you might think, they didn’t begin their tour at the western end of the scheme by Yarnbury Castle as you might expect. We can only hope that this was because it was deemed dangerous to let the inspectors and their entourage loose on a byway next to the A303, rather than a premptive decision by the Inspectorate to avoid any discussion of the dangers of the Yarnbury crossing point. Time will tell.

I met with them close to the old Sheep Hospital, up the hill at Over Street, where they were looking back at the view of the A303 to the north east; for the first stop of the day, they were over 30 minutes late. At this point, its worth pointing out the protocol of these Planning Inspectorate visits. Whilst you can exchange civilities with them and point out “things of interest,” you aren’t supposed to try and discuss the details of your case with them. Of course, rules are designed to curb the timid and offer a somewhat elastic framework to the bold. So, if you are prepared to talk loudly to yourself, or to he fieldfares and hares in an adjacent field, there’s not a lot the Inspectors can do about it. It’s a bit like one of those legal scenes where the council for the defence introduces something that is so left field, that the judge will throw it out immediately. The judge also instructs the jury to forget it was ever said. However, the truth of the matter is that once something is said, you can never un-hear it. So I used the opportunity to build on the case to get the visual barriers raised from the 1.5m size that Highways England are proposing to something that will obscure the lights at night from HGVs on the proposed Till Viaduct.

Thanks are also due to the RAF and Army Air Corps. who timed their recce of the grass strip behind Yarnbury to perfection. That allowed me to raise the issue of the crossing and its dangers. The Inspectorate weren’t biting, but a Guardian journalist did; so hopefully that aspect might get some attention in the Press.

Inspectors and entourage at Foredown House

After an exhilarating downhill ride back to Over Street and home, via Berwick St James, a swift shower and a change of clothes whilst the inspectors visited Parsonage Down, then off to Foredown House, where 3 generations of Turner’s were waiting for them – to point out the impact the road and the construction process will have on their business; the severance of the farm and the impact of that on their calving operation and the long term damage to the soil structure that dumping hundreds of thousands of tons of chalk will have; for decades, maybe centuries and possibly millenia. It was apparent that several members of the team had no real appreciation of what something 10 metres tall looked like in a rural setting (like the proposed viaduct) and were rather taken aback when the comparison of a barn was used by Robert Turner. A few questions were asked by the inspectors and the entourage.

Thanks to Fiona Turner for shouting a response across the throng of visitors, to a bellowed question about sight-lines from the top of the hill, along the line of the proposed road. You can see the Visitor’s Centre and into the World Heritage Site. That means vehicle headlight from eastbound traffic will light up the western end of the World Heritage Site.

The Turner’s were keen to get the inspectors to walk up to the point where the proposed route crosses the byway, to get a real feel for just how close it is to Foredown House. They weren’t prepared to do that today, but the Chief Inspector did say she would do so on one of the unaccompanied site inspections.

The Chief Inspector is clearly not yet adept at herding cats and was having difficulty getting her team, let alone the entourage, back on the coach; many who would have stayed longer. They eventually got on board and left, to visit points of the scheme further east. I’d love to report Fiona Turner’s closing comment to her grand-daughter, just before the coach doors closed, but I fear I shouldn’t. If you ask her nicely, she might tell you; she might not. It came from so far out of left field that I doubt anyone who was on the coach and heard it, will ever forget!

Tomorrow sees the start of the Open Floor Hearings in City Hall. Everyone who has asked gets 5 minutes to make their points. It is going to be truly awful, as any masochists amongst you will discover, if you turn up for a session.

A303 Stonehenge Scheme: Registering As An Interested Party

Please note that the Planning Inspectorate website now carries an online form to allow you to register as an “Interested Party” in the forthcoming Examination of Highways England’s proposal for the A303 Stonehenge Scheme.  The form can be found here.

Although the Parish Council will be registering  on its own account, we would strongly urge any residents of Winterbourne Stoke with particular interests which may not be covered by the Parish Council’s response (details of which will be published on this website asap), to register an interest on their own behalf.

A guide to filling out the registration form can be found here.

Registration closes on Friday 11 January 2019 at 23:59

 

Onboard and Online: Electoral Review of Wiltshire Council

The Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) is carrying out an electoral review of Wiltshire Council.

 

The aim of the electoral review is to recommend divisions boundaries that mean each councillor represents approximately the same number of voters.

We also aim to ensure that the division boundaries reflect the interests and identities of local communities, as well as promoting effective local government.

To achieve these aims, we need to re-draw division boundaries across Wiltshire.

From 28 August 2018 to 5 November 2018, we are accepting opinions and comments (submissions) from the public on where you believe division boundaries should be in Wiltshire Council.

 

The Commission now needs information from people and groups across Wiltshire to help it to produce new divisions boundaries to accommodate 98 councillors.

www.lgbce.org.uk/all-reviews/south-west/wiltshire/wiltshire-unitary-authority-ua

 

 

Onboard and Online: Asking Questions

The Parish Council is always happy to receive your questions and can, hopefully, answer them.  The usual way of doing this is for you to speak with a Parish Councillor, call them on the phone, contact them by email, or by letter.  You can also raise a question for the Parish Council by getting in touch with the Clerk, whose contact details are…

Mr J Carr
Clerk to Winterbourne Stoke Parish Council
1 Cleeve View
Winterbourne Stoke
Salisbury
SP3 4SY

Phone: 07973 366762
Email: clerk@winterbournestokepc.org.uk

…and appear at the foot of every page on the website (https://winterbournestokepc.org.uk).

If your question is a private matter, or you don’t want it to be widely known that you have raised it, then this is the best way to do so.  However, if it is a confidential matter, please speak directly to a councillor/the Clerk and make this clear, or mark your email/letter as “Confidential” and send it just to the Clerk, Chairman, or one of the Councillors.

We’ve recently had a good suggestion from a Parishioner about improving on this.  Sometimes you may have a question that is better raised with the Parish Council as a whole; perhaps because it might impact on most Parishioners, or because it might be of more general interest.   In an ideal world, you would come along to the next Parish Council metting and raise it, in person, during the regular “Adjournment for Residents’ Questions” session that takes place at the start of every meeting – we would certainly like to see you there!

However, we recognise that in this busy world, you might not have the time to spare to come along to a Parish Council meeting in person.  If that is the case, please send your question directly to the Clerk, a minimum of 3 working days before a scheduled Parish Council Meeting, and your question will be read out on your behalf and treated as if you were asking it in person.  Depending on the sort of question you ask, it may finish up as an agenda item for discussion at a subsequent Parish Council meeting.

Onboard and Online: A303 Stonehenge to Berwick Down Scheme – Response to Supplementary Consultation

Please be aware that at the Parish Council Meeting scheduled for Thursday 2nd August 2018 at the Stonehenge Visitor’s Centre  there is an agenda item to discuss responses to the three questions posed by Highway England in their Supplementary Consultation on the A303 Stonehenge to Berwick Down Scheme.  The three questions are as follows:

  • to remove the previously proposed link between Byways 11 and 12 in the Stonehenge World Heritage Site
  • to widen the green bridge proposed near the existing Longbarrow roundabout
  • to move the proposed modification of Rollestone crossroads.

If you wish to offer your views to the Parish Council, please come along to the meeting, or send an email/letter to the Parish Clerk (contact details at the foot of this page); ideally to arrive before 2nd August if you wish to have an opportunity to influence the Parish Council response.  We would also be most interested in hearing your views on the clarification on the byways between Yarnbury Castle and Longbarrow Roundabout that Highways England have provided.

Don’t forget that the second and final opportunity to talk with Highways England about these three questions is on Tuesday 31st July in Amesbury.

Highways England To Consult Further On Proposed Changes To A303 Upgrade Past Stonehenge

A Press Statement from Highways England today made the following announcement about a supplementary consultation.  Please note the date of the public information events (in bold below):

Begins:

People interested in plans to upgrade the A303 past Stonehenge are urged to have their say on Highways England’s revised proposals to further protect the World Heritage site.

Taking on feedback from a consultation earlier this year Highways England has adjusted some of the design detail of the planned £1.6bn scheme which will improve journeys on the busy route and create a much-needed bypass for Winterbourne Stoke while preserving the Outstanding Universal Value of the World Heritage Site.

The changes, which seek to further enhance the famous landscape and reconnect the two halves of the 6,500-acre World Heritage site (WHS), include:

• Removing the previously proposed link between Byways 11 and 12 in the Stonehenge WHS to avoid affecting the setting of the Normanton Down barrow group and tranquillity of the site in this area

• Widening the green bridge proposed near the existing Longbarrow roundabout to improve the physical and visual connection between the northern and southern parts of the WHS

• Moving the proposed modification of Rollestone crossroads to provide a more compact layout

Derek Parody, Highways England Project Director for the A303 Stonehenge scheme, said: “We had a great response to our earlier consultation and have acted on the feedback. We now want to get people’s views on our proposed changes to our original consultation.

“The further feedback we get will allow us to make sure we have got the best scheme before we make our application later this year to build the scheme.

“Meanwhile we continue to work with heritage groups including Historic England, English Heritage, the National Trust, and experts in the field, including the Stonehenge Scientific Committee – a body of leading independent archaeologists – to ensure a new route is built sensitively to the World Heritage site.”

Highways England received more than 5,000 responses to consultation on improving the A303 route past Stonehenge, between Amesbury and Berwick Down, which includes a tunnel at least 1.8 miles long, a free-flowing dual carriageway and a much-needed bypass north of Winterbourne Stoke.

Consultation will run from 17 July to 14 August, with two public information events – at The Manor Barn, High Street, Winterbourne Stoke, SP3 4SZ, on 19 July (2pm-8pm) and Antrobus House, 39 Salisbury Road, Amesbury SP4 7HH, on 31 July (2pm-8pm).

During the consultation, Highways England will also clarify its public rights of way proposals accompanying the scheme, which will help people explore and enjoy the World Heritage site and enable them to walk or cycle unobstructed between Amesbury and Winterbourne Stoke.

As part of its £15 billion road strategy – the biggest investment in roads in a generation – the Government is committed to upgrading all remaining single carriageway sections of the A303/A358 between the M3 and M5 to dual carriageway standard.

The A303 at Stonehenge, the A303 between Sparkford and Ilchester, and the A358 between the M5 Taunton and the Southfields Roundabout on the A303 are the first three schemes in that strategy.

The A303 Stonehenge upgrade will deliver major benefits to the World Heritage Site by reuniting the landscape and restoring tranquillity to the setting of one of our most famous cultural icons. At the heart of many of Highways England’s proposed refinements to the scheme is the protection of the WHS and its Outstanding Universal Value.

The scheme will also support a major boost to the South West economy, currently lagging 24% behind the national economy, by providing an effective transport link, and reducing the traffic blight on local communities.

Further details of the proposed changes will be available during the supplementary consultation and in the meantime, anyone wanting further information on the scheme or anyone who wants to respond to the consultation can go to www.highways.gov.uk/a303stonehenge

Ends

Notes From Annual Parish Meeting: A303 Stonehenge Scheme Public Consultation

Firstly, a huge thank you to all who attended and contributed through observations, questions and comments. All were very useful and identified a host of issues that need consideration by all. Please don’t stop there though, please let us know, through the website, by email, snail mail or any other means that gets the information to us, as soon as you can, to help us put together the Parish Council response and also to advise and influence your fellow villagers (You can leave them here)

Last night illustrated that whilst each of us see many common issues, we also have unique viewpoints and interests that identify issues and concerns not picked-up by others. Airing them publicly tests the level of local interest and support and might influence how others respond to Highways England.

Any other ideas we receive will be aired on this website to give all villagers the opportunity to think about them and add them to their own responses should they so wish. Comments from villagers will serve to advise the Parish Council on the strength of feeling on those issues.

 

The representative of Highways England was Jeremy Damrel who is the Project Director A303 Technical Partner.

His presentation, together with that of Cllr Dr Andy Shuttleworth, Chairman of Winterbourne Stoke Parish Council have been uploaded to the “Recent Documents” section of the village website

Other Highways England figures mentioned during the evening were:

  • Tim Harper – specialises in Byways
  • David Bullock – had appeared at Amesbury Area Board and in context of closure of Salisbury Road, Amesbury

Some key points arising from Jeremy Damrel’s presentation were:

  • The new Longbarrow roundabout will be 8 metres below present ground level to minimise light intrusion into the WHS. The siting of the viaduct is on the narrowest crossing of the Till flood plain
  • The height of the viaduct is determined by the need to allow light underneath for ecological purposes.
  • A minimum of 5.4 metres headroom is needed to allow farm vehicles under the viaduct on byway WST04 (see map above) between Foredown House and Foredown Barn
  • There will be a minimum of 9 metres clearance at the River Till crossing
  • Highways England are legally obliged to deal with all points raised in responses to the public consultation
  • All interested parties should be prepared to register for the 3rd round of consultations later in the year.

Some key concerns identified by villagers, regarding the proposed scheme, from Cllr Dr Andy Shuttleworth’s presentation can be summarised a

  • Misleading, factually incorrect and exaggerated claims made in the Highways England Consultation booklet
  • Height of the viaduct
  • Spoil dumping and phosphatic chalk issues
  • Likely attenuated noise levels in the village rather than the unattenuated ones seen so far – may particularly impact noise at Foredown House in a beneficial way
  • Inappropriate siting of Western Site Compound
  • Many byway issues, particularly need for equestrian route from Yarnbury through village to Longbarrow and the WHS. Need to prevent access to western end of old A303 by ‘undesirables’.
  • The village would like to use some of the area on the old A303, west of Scotland Lodge Farm, on which to site a small village hall and other legacy features of benefit to the villagers of WS
  • Need for equestrian routes west of the village to be opened as part of “advance” works for the scheme to protect Livery at Scotland Lodge, etc
  • Access to the fields to the south-east of Parsonage Down should be via acess off the B3083 ratther than the proposed Green Bridge 1.   A car park for Parsonage Down should be sited at Parsonage Down
  • Concerns over suggestions that HGV’s servicing the chicken farm, south of the A303 on BSJA3, should exit and egress via the new byway created on the route of the old A303 west of Scotland Lodge, through the heart of WS.  No traffic should proceed along the route of the old A303 west of the Western edge of Scotland Lodge Farm and the proposed legacy area.
  • Need for safe crossings of the A360 into the WHS, ideally a Green Bridge, otherwise Pegasus crossings.
  • Re-siting the proposed new Longbarrow roundabouts back eastwards towards the current location, minimising land take from Manor Farm
  • Reviewing byways, restricting some Byways Open to All Traffic (BOATs), the need to consider byway exchanges based on proven usage, new byways/equine routes from Shrewton and WS towards the WHS
  • General positive view of proposals for Rollestone crossroads, but it should be an advance measure; ideally the first of the scheme
  • The need to start thinking now about legacy issues (see here )

The Q&A session raised the following issues. Please let us know asap if we have omitted anything vital or got anything wrong and we will amend asap. The height of the viaduct, the siting of the Longbarrow roundabout to the east of the proposed location and the need to ensure the western end of the current A303 did not become attractive to undesirable elements, was of universal concern

  • Concern over proposed land take on Manor Farm. Both temporary and permanent.
  • Ecological damage caused by this in Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Special Area of Conservation (SCA)
  • Concern that no information about what activity will take place where
  • Concern the WS is bearing the brunt of construction and spoil processing an dumping. Load should be spread.
  • Need for separate sites to store chalk and topsoil
  • No information of siting of worker’s accommodation – feeling that this should be at the eastern end of the scheme, close to Amesbury and all the amenities it has to offer
  • Reconsideration of putting spoil in SPTA
  • Some spoil should be used for sound-proofing embankments north of WS
  • Concern over traffic headlight intrusion on village
  • Confusion caused by HE stays on whether tunnel materials would be produced on-site or shipped in. Some told one thing, some another. Either way, raw materials and components will need to be shipped across the site
  • Suggestions that the construction sites currently placed immediately west of the new Longbarrow roundabout should, instead, be located immediately to the east of this location and towards the western edge of the WHS, both north and south of the current A303. This would minimise the need for land take along the south-eastern edge of Manor Farm where it bits the proposed route
  • Concern over impact of soil dumping on private water supplies
  • Concern that the run-off water treatment ponds at the western end of the scheme were totally disproportionate in size and extent to those already in place at the eastern end. Those at the western end should be re-considered and reduced in size

Jeremy Damrel made a number of other points of interest during the course of the Q&A session:

  • The next consultation, in the Autumn, would be run by a third party
  • Individuals and the Parish Council would need to register with the Planning Inspectorate as an“Interested party” in order to participate
  • HE have not yet decided many of the details being asked for by villagers, planning would continue until the Autumn and some of those questions would be answered for the next stage of consultation
  • Tunneling will be 24/7. Could not answer if processing spoil and dumping would also be 24/7, but admitted it was a logical assumption
  • Red lines (showing the temporary and permanent areas of land-take) will only get smaller (or they are unlikely to get larger)
  • Changes upwards would require further consultation – with involved parties (eg land owners)
  • Some questions posed by villagers would be answered by the Preliminary Environmental Information Report Summary (PEIR – see here)
  • The chairman pointed out that the PEIR summary gave relatively little hard information and villagers should take a look at the full PEIR and its four Appendices which can be found under the Consultation Information section here.
  • Villagers should be aware of two further documents scheduled to be published in the Autum; these are the Site Environmental Management Plan (SEMP) and the Code of Construction Practise (CCA)
  • The Chairman noted that writing to Highways England for clarification or raising question was yielding results, citing the following example provided by Berwick St James Parish Meeting:

RE: A303 ROAD SCHEME – RELEVANT INFORMATION ABOUT THE WORK SITE/TRAFFIC ROUTE DURING CONSTRUCTION OF WINTERBOURNE STOKE BYPASS

A Berwick St James resident requested more information about the work site (on B3083) and traffic route during construction of the Winterbourne Stoke bypass. Attached is Highways England’s response.

We hope we (the Parish Council) have captured your key concerns and issues

Highway England Drop-In Events: Not Quite Your Last Chance To Attend

STOP PRESS: Highways England informed us last night that, due to the inclement weather causing two of the drop-in sessions to be cancelled, two more would be scheduled; one in Mere and one in Salisbury.

The new event at Mere will be held at Mere Lecture Hall, Salisbury Street, Mere, BA12 6HE, 14.00 to 20.00, Friday 13 April 2018.

The new event at Salisbury will be held at St Paul’s Church, Fisherton Street, Salisbury, SP2 7QW, 11.00 to 17.00, Saturday 14 April 2018.

You can also go to the following event this coming Friday

Friday 23 March 2018 14.00 to 20.00 Antrobus House 39 Salisbury Rd, Amesbury, SP4 7HH

Importantly, the deadline for receipt of responses has been extended to Monday 23rd April to compensate.   Highways England advise that all other scheduled milestones will remain the same.

Finally, you will have an opportunity to raise issues again with Highways England staff at the Annual Parish Meeting on Monday 26th March 2018 at 6:00 pm in the Education Suite of the Stonehenge Visitor’s Centre.  The agenda can be found here.

The meeting will start with a 20 minute presentation by Highways England to set the scene, followed by the Chairman highlighting any issues relating to the scheme (and there are several) that have already been brought to our attention and that will be referred to in the Parish Council response.

From that point onwards, the meeting will be opened up to Electors of the parish. We hope you will come along and participate. We hope it may help you identify issues that you want to raise with Highways England yourselves in your own responses to the statutory consultation.

We strongly urge you to attend so we can gain a better idea of the collective view of villagers.

Onboard and Online: The Annual Parish Meeting

The agenda for the Annual Parish Meeting, which will be held on Monday 26th March 2018 in the Education Suite of the Stonehenge Visitor’s Centre can be found here.

The Annual Parish Meeting, which has to be held between March and June,  is normally the one opportunity during the year when we can all discuss issues of interest to the electors of the parish.  At Parish Council meetings, the legal format is such that parishioners can raise questions, but debate and discussion isn’t entered into.

Clearly, with the A303 Stonehenge Scheme Public Consultation coming to an end in early April, we felt it essential to hold the Annual Parish Meeting in the same time period, to allow you all to discuss your views in public and give the Parish Council a better idea of the collective views and concerns of the village.   These will be reflected in the formal response the Parish Council makes to the consultation process.  We hope you have either already taken the opportunity to go and see one of the Highways England presentations on their plans, or plan to do so over the next few weeks, and will come to the meeting armed with points and ideas that will minimise the impact of the scheme on the village and villagers:

  • between now and the start of construction;
  • during the construction process;
  • following completion of the scheme.

The meeting will start with a 20 minute presentation by Highways England to set the scene, followed by the Chairman highlighting any issues relating to the scheme (and there are several) that have already been brought to our attention and that will be referred to in the Parish Council response.

From that point onwards, the meeting will be opened up to Electors of the parish.   We hope you will come along and participate.  We hope it may help you identify issues that you want to raise with Highways England yourselves in your own responses to the statutory consultation.

The March meeting of the Parish Council will follow the Annual Meeting of the Parish.

A list of the remaining Highways England drop-in events is shown below:

Tuesday 27 February 2018 14:00 to 20:00 The Laverton Hall Bratton Road, Westbury, BA13 3EN
Thursday 1 March 2018 14.00 to 20.00 Mere Lecture Hall Salisbury Street, Mere, BA12 6HA
Saturday 3 March 2018 11.00 to 17.00 The Guildhall, Salisbury The Market Place, Salisbury, SP1 1JH
Thursday 8 March 2018 12.00 to 20.00 Society of Antiquaries Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W1J 0BE
Friday 9 March 2018 14.00 to 20.00 The Manor Barn High St, Winterbourne Stoke, SP3 4SZ
Saturday 10 March 2018 11.00 to 17.00 The Manor Barn High St, Winterbourne Stoke, SP3 4SZ
Tuesday 13 March 2018 14.00 to 20.00 Avon Valley College Recreation Road, Durrington, SP4 8HH
Wednesday 14 March 2018 16.00 to 20.30 Larkhill Primary School Wilson Road, Larkhill, SP4 8QB
Friday 23 March 2018 14.00 to 20.00 Antrobus House 39 Salisbury Rd, Amesbury, SP4 7HH
Loading...