To ask Her Majesty's Government what area of Crown land would need to be (1) acquired, and (2) compulsorily purchased, within the Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites UNESCO World Heritage site to enable the construction and operation of the A303 Amesbury to Berwick Down dual carriageway and tunnel, should planning consent be granted by the Secretary of State; what proportion of the land to be acquired was gifted to the nation by Sir Cecil Chubb; and what would be the terms of any (a) acquisition, or (b) compulsory purchase.
12 October 2021
The total area of ground that would need to be excavated for the construction of the A303 dual carriageway and Tunnel within the World Heritage site is approximately 8.8 hectares.
The area of Crown land identified within the World Heritage Site to be permanently acquired to enable the construction and operation of the A303 dual carriageway and tunnel is approximately 4,220 square metres. This is the land beneath the existing A303, which is unregistered and (in accordance with the ad medium filum rule) ownership has been attributed to the adjacent parties to the halfway point of the road. The adjacent landowner on the north side of the road is the land parcel that was gifted to the nation by Sir Cecil Chubb.
During inquiries to identify the legal entities with an interest in this land, it was identified that the land gifted by Sir Cecil Chubb is held in the name of the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. As such the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is assumed to hold an interest in the subsoil beneath the A303 up to its half width by virtue of the ad medium filum rule. This is considered to be Crown land. No land gifted by Sir Cecil Chubb is included within the land to be acquired for the Development Consent Order.
Within the World Heritage Site, there is approximately 52.83 hectares of land owned by The National Trust that would need to be acquired or compulsory purchased. Of this 6.3 hectares are subject to outright acquisition, and 46.53 hectares are subject to acquisition at subsoil level for the construction of the bored tunnel with rights above. Of this land, 41.62 hectares has been declared as inalienable, 1.75 hectares subject to outright acquisition, and 39.87 hectares subject to subsoil acquisition.