Letter from Ian West, Winterbourne Stoke:

IT'S GOOD to see that National Highways is arranging visits to the local communities affected by the A303 (Amesbury to Berwick Down) Stonehenge Tunnel scheme.

It will be interesting to hear about the alternative schemes it's considering and how it is going to deal with the tunnel spoil that is generated during its construction.

I think we all agree that Winterbourne Stoke needs a bypass.

Whether you are for, or against the tunnel scheme, there are some very important details, which must be understood, as these will affect us for many years to come.

Particularly, the long-term impact this will have on the local landscape and surrounding environment.

Under the scheme, which was quashed by the High Court, the spoil would be extracted from the tunnel and then dried using a special processing unit located near the present Longbarrow Roundabout.

The treated spoil would then be taken, via a temporary constructed road, across the River Till valley to the west side of the B3083, just north of Winterbourne Stoke.

It would then be spread on an arable field, filling the valley next to this road, which is locally known as Warminster Bottom.

This would elevate the Winterbourne Stoke bypass by approx 10 metres in comparison with the previous 2004/05 scheme.

A better approach would be to take the spoil straight to Government (MOD) land on Salisbury Plain, which covers an area of 150 square miles, where there are many craters and valleys that could be filled in.

At a distance of just over two miles from the A303 the advantages of dumping the 1.25 million cubic metres of spoil in this vast area are considerable.

There would be no requirement for a temporary road, no compensation to be paid to landowners (as this is Government-owned land) and more importantly, no need to raise the height of the bypass, making it less visible (and much quieter) for those living in Winterbourne Stoke.

Here are some questions that need answering! Are there plans to build a compound nearby for workers to stay and store machinery?

If the project goes ahead how long will it take from start to finish?

I urge local residents to attend the National Highways roadshow, so that you can understand the proposal and fully appreciate how this will affect future life in the Till Valley.