ENGLISH Heritage today welcomed the Government's decision to grant planning permission for new visitor facilities at Stonehenge.

But Ruth Kelly, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government stated that the scheme can only go ahead once the Government has approved the published A303 roads scheme.

This includes a flyover at Countess Road, a 2.1km bored tunnel, a bypass round Winterbourne Stoke and junction improvements at Longbarrow Crossroads.

Sir Neil Cossons, chairman of English Heritage, said: "We are delighted that our proposal for new visitor facilities has got over the final hurdle in planning terms.

"It is a vindication of the integrity and the distinctive merits of the scheme, which will transform the visitor experience and form a crucial part of our commitment to manage the World Heritage Site.

"We accept that it is reasonable for planning permission to be conditional on the road improvements going ahead, as there is no doubt that the two projects are conceived in conjunction with each other to produce the maximum positive benefits."