A COUNCIL says it is “appalled” by the way roads chiefs are treating its villagers over plans for a bypass.
Winterbourne Stoke Parish Council says Highways England has failed to answer “the most basic” of questions about noise, pollution and other major concerns.
The remarks come in response to the public consultation on plans for an A303 tunnel at Stonehenge, with options to bypass Winterbourne Stoke.
Highways England has “abjectly failed” to properly engage with the local community, was withholding important information, and “much more effort had been put into solving the needs of the long-dead than the living,” it says.
The council said presentation material was “slick” but lacked substance and staff were unable to answer questions in detail.
And it said there were fears the re-appearance of the previously rejected southern bypass route – “an option all had believed was long dead” – would divide the village.
Basic questions about the impact on families were met with “high level waffle” and “vague assurances” there was little to choose between the two routes.
Aware of “deep divisions in the community”, the council is not backing either route, but is seeking answers to villagers’ questions, the response said.
Some villagers were torn between the two options, while others felt the whole idea of a bypass is an “enormous waste of public money”, the parish council said.
“Many parishioners are desperate for a bypass and want it to happen, but not at any cost.”
Another “considerable concern” is the height of the road, which “seemed to be largely driven by the need to get rid of spoil from the proposed tunnel”.
And it said there were concerns Winterbourne Stoke would be “swamped by a major construction village” for several years.
The “inescapable conclusion”, it said, was that Highways England had “abjectly failed” to provide sufficient information or detail, making it “completely unreasonable to expect anyone whose lives will be so directly affected to express an informed preference for either route”.
“We are frankly appalled by the way we and our parishioners have and continue to be treated in this matter.
“Sometimes there is a need to draw a line in the sand and we think this is one such occasion.”
Demanding an independent review of the consultation process, the report said: “Highways England must not be allowed to act as judge and jury in its own trial.”