I have been asked by my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State, to make this written ministerial statement. This statement concerns the application made under the Planning Act 2008 for the proposed construction by Highways England of a new two-lane dual carriageway for the A303 between Amesbury and Berwick Down in Wiltshire (also known as the “A303 Stonehenge” application).
Under sub-section 107(1) of the Planning Act 2008, the Secretary of State must make his decision within three months of receipt of the examining authority’s report unless exercising the power under sub-section 107(3) to extend the deadline and make a statement to the Houses of Parliament announcing the new deadline. The Secretary of State received the examining authority’s report on the A303 Amesbury to Berwick Down development consent order application on 2 January 2020 and the deadline for a decision was previously extended from 2 April 2020 to 17 July 2020 to allow for further work to be carried out.
Following notification of a recent archaeological find within the world heritage site, the deadline for the decision is to be further extended to 13 November 2020 (an extension of four months) to enable further consultation on and consideration of this matter before determination of the application by the Secretary of State.
The decision to set a new deadline is without prejudice to the decision on whether to give development consent.