Major construction given the go-ahead at Stonehenge

English Heritage has said the plans for Stonehenge are part of a wider investment strategy- to enhance visitors' experience at the site. Credit: English Heritage

A major construction has been given the go-ahead at Stonehenge.

English Heritage submitted an application to the council in November 2023, which requested permission to construct two new buildings approximately 2.5 miles to the west of the Stonehenge Circle.

These were approved by Wiltshire Council at a meeting on Friday 15 March.

The first building approved is a new learning facility adjacent to the shuttle bus turnaround by the visitor centre.

The second building is described as a ‘Neolithic classroom’ - east of the visitor centre, near the existing Neolithic village.

English Heritage has said the plans are part of a wider investment strategy- to enhance visitors' experience at the site.

The first version of the design was submitted to Wiltshire Council and Historic England in February 2022. Credit: English Heritage

The learning centre will include a STEM lab, as well as a learning studio connected to outdoor spaces.

Meanwhile, the Neolithic classroom will be built based on evidence for Neolithic communal buildings found at Durrington Walls.

The area will be designed to provide an 'immersive and authentic' space for students to carry out research.

The application said: “Given its international status and cultural significance, English Heritage believes that Stonehenge should have a sector-leading education offer as befits this unique and special place – one that ensures that all education groups, both free and paying visits, have a world-class experience.”

English Heritage has said one of the main priorities of the construction will be providing a net zero-carbon building operation.

Wiltshire Council’s case officer report noted that although the new facilities will result in an increase in vehicular traffic to the centre, this traffic is likely to be by bus, which is in line with the council’s core policy of decreasing travel by private car.

It stated: “It is concluded that the public benefits of the proposal would outweigh the limited harm to heritage assets in the planning balance and refusal on heritage and landscape grounds would not be justified.”

Wiltshire Council therefore approved the proposals.

Credit: Local Democracy Reporting Service / Jessica Moriarty