Page last updated at 13:20 GMT, Wednesday, 13 May 2009 14:20 UK

Stonehenge centre gets go-ahead

Stonehenge at sunrise
Stonehenge is a protected World Heritage Site

A £25m plan to revitalise the world-renowned Stonehenge in Wiltshire, including diverting a nearby road, has been announced by the government.

Also included in the plan from the Stonehenge Programme Board are proposals for a new visitor centre at nearby Airman's Corner.

The news means work can start on design, seeking planning permission and raising cash to deliver the project.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced the project in the Commons.

Funding will be provided through a range of private and public sources, including English Heritage, Heritage Lottery Fund and the Highways Agency

Our vision for Stonehenge has always been a simple one: to restore a sense of dignity and wonder to its setting
English Heritage

The chosen site at Airman's Corner is about one-and-a-half miles (2.4km) west from the current visitor centre, at the edge of the World Heritage Site.

The announcement is still subject to a detailed business case, planning permission and funding.

A spokesman for English Heritage said its vision for Stonehenge has always been a simple one: to restore a sense of dignity and wonder to its setting, and provide visitors with a really high quality experience.

Stonehenge centre plans welcomed

"I believe the plans announced today will do this, and significantly improve what we have there at present."

In 2000, two projects were planned - to remove roads from around Stonehenge by placing the nearby A303 in a tunnel, and to relocate visitor facilities to a new centre, away from the stones.

But in 2007, the government announced it would not continue with a published scheme for an A303 tunnel in view of the estimated cost of around £500m.

The project board was re-convened and in December 2008, and following public consultation on the future of Stonehenge, two options for the location of a new visitor centre were proposed - Fargo Plantation and Airman's Corner.

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