Department of Transport
Confidential briefing note
- We promised the South West Lib Dems a fast A303 to keep them happy in the last parliament – most of them lost their seats but the deal can’t be unravelled as new Tories down there need to show we care for the peninsular.
- Southampton – Salisbury – M3 and M4 these routes need upgrading for trade.
- Stonehenge is the blocking point on the A303.
- Divert the A303 nearer to Salisbury to pick up traffic as above cuts the cost of Salisbury road upgrades and it is cheaper than keeping the beardies happy around Stonehenge.
- English Heritage and National Trust desperate to keep main road near Stonehenge for revenue reasons – “Tourists won’t leave the major road to visit a bunch of rocks”.
- Operation “Brer Rabbit” – put forward a Stonehenge Tunnel Scheme that we claim we desperately want will keep EH and NT onside. But make it outrageous to upset beardies by blocking out Winter Solstice view – subtle enough to get past the headquarter wonks at EH and NT but will be picked up as we consult (we can make sure of that.)
- "Very sorry, we tried" to EH & NT. We get cheaper road where we want it, and any complaints as we put new road plans in we can blame the Stonehenge crowd.
- Result: Highways England happy, Road transport lobby happy, Road blockers happy, South West happy, Southampton and Salisbury happy, Treasury happy - just English Heritage will be unhappy but they can't say anything as they have to show they care more for the monuments than the cash.