English Heritage have given Inside Wiltshire this statement:
The closure of the A344 will bring significant improvements to the blighted setting of Stonehenge – part of the vision of the World Heritage Site Management Plan and the main reason for English Heritage to carry out the Stonehenge project. Visitors will have a much more open and tranquil experience to explore the landscape and other important monuments that surround Stonehenge.
The grassed over section (a result of the Stopping Up Order, if granted) will greatly improve its immediate surroundings and reunite the monument with The Avenue – its ancient processional approach. The original commitment to remove the A344 made by the UK Government to UNESCO when Stonehenge was inscribed as a World Heritage Site will be fulfilled.
The Traffic Regulation Order, the subject of the forthcoming Public Inquiry, will greatly reduce the amount of motorised traffic running within the World Heritage Site. This is an aim of the Stonehenge World Heritage Site Management Plan and we support Wiltshire Council’s commitment to achieving it. It will create a much more peaceful environment to the Stones and other monuments in the World Heritage Site, enhancing the experience of over 1 million visitors every year and those who cycle and walk in the landscape regularly. Visitors, walkers and cyclists will be able to take in the tranquillity and beauty of the ancient landscape without interference from traffic and noise, and without the visual intrusion of large number of parked vehicles.
The TRO would also, through facilitating the delivery of the wider Stonehenge Project, enable the provision of improved visitor facilities and interpretation at the new visitor centre at Airman’s Corner – improvements that Stonehenge needs and deserves.