ENGLISH Heritage has said it will plough ahead with plans for a new visitor centre at Stonehenge despite the Government’s decision to cancel funding for the project.

The Government announced on June 17 that it will no longer be stumping up £10million promised towards the cost of the £27million centre by the former Labour administration.

But English Heritage, which manages the World Heritage Site, says it hopes to find other ways of raising the money.

A statement issued following a meeting of the English Heritage Commission yesterday said: “Having worked for so many years to achieve the desperately needed transformation of Stonehenge, commissioners are very anxious that every possible avenue is pursued.”

Planning permission for the new centre, at Airman’s Corner, has already been grated and English Heritage plans to proceed with arrangements for the closure of part of the A344, which runs past the stones.

“Completing the planning stages ensures a tidy and cost-efficient break-point between preparation and implementation of the scheme. It also allows more time to explore alternative funding.”

But the Government’s decision not to fund the project has been welcomed by local people who fear the impact of the road closure on nearby villages and feel the project is being rushed through in order to get it completed in time for the 2012 Olympics.

The scheme would see the existing visitor centre and parking removed and a new car park at Airman’s Corner with a land train to take visitors to the Stones.

It is the latest plan to come out of years of wrangling over the future of the site, which has been branded a ‘national disgrace’.

An estimated £40million has so far been spent on plans and consultations and a £500million project to replace the centre while also carrying out works on the nearby A303 – a road notorious for horrendous delays was ditched due to its cost in 2007.

The latest funding decision was part of a Government decision to axe £2billion in funding for 12 projects agreed by the former Government shortly before the General Election.