WILTSHIRE Council “fell out” with Highways England during the latest round of the A303 National Infrastructure Planning hearings, according to the president of Salisbury’s Chamber of Commerce.

Andy Rhind-Tutt, who spoke at the hearings and is a long-term objector to tunnel plans, said the council looked to seek “last minute amendments” to the development consent order which would remove all motorised vehicles from the surrounding byways.

This, Mr Rhind-Tutt claims, was met with “a strong rebuttal” from Highways England, the Trail Riders Association, and others in attendance.

As a result, the planning inspectorate adjourned the matter to seek legal advice, while parties prepare written submissions for further debate later in the summer.

During the hearings last week, Mr Rhind-Tutt spoke to Highways England over their claim the scheme would reduce rat-running.

He said: “A £2billion spend is expected to save just 4.5 seconds per mile on an average 100 mile journey, and the diversion for visitors westbound to Stonehenge, when there is a tunnel closure, amounts to 22.5 miles and takes a 40 minute route through unsuitable village roads including Shrewton.

“Highways England’s own figures showed that a similar tunnel at Hindhead closed 702 times over 26 months.

“This will cause chaos for local people and businesses.”

Mr Rhind-Tutt then presented plans for a new road that would give Salisbury “a much needed bypass” and “solve the traffic issue at Stonehenge, by giving drivers choice on routes”.

He added: “The route connects all of the principle A roads that pass through Salisbury and opens up access to the Hospital, Churchfields and the railway station at a fraction of the cost and has gathered huge support from business leaders and locals, and crucially it provides a bypass for the A36 which will give freight traffic from the docks a route to the West Country without passing Stonehenge.”

He concluded by saying that should this option be considered, there would be a “£1billion saving”.

The hearings continue., and more information can be found at bit.ly/2MV5XA5