Monday, 3 March 2008

Arriving soon at Stonehenge: 480 trucks a day from Tesco's 'megashed'

From the Guardian.

It is known as "the gateway to the south-west" and the "holiday trail". But the A303, which links Devon with the M3, is also notorious as a road plagued by tailbacks where frustrated families queue for hours en route to the English riviera and beyond.

It may be about to get worse. On a greenfield site just outside Andover, Hampshire, Tesco is planning to open a warehouse which, at more than 85,000 sq metres (21 acres), will be one of the biggest buildings in Europe. It will be bigger than Heathrow's terminal 5 and the height of four double-decker buses, each stacked on top of the other.

Every minute of every hour, day and night for 364 days a year, an average of one Tesco juggernaut will roll in or out of the so-called MegaShed.

Suppliers bringing in goods destined for Tesco's stores are likely to produce as much heavy goods traffic again. About half the lorries, according to the developer, will head east towards London and the M3 - back in the direction from which most of the goods have arrived. One in five will head down the A303 past Stonehenge, where the road becomes a single carriageway. Plans to build a Stonehenge bypass, complete with a tunnel, were thrown out by the government in December.

The MegaShed is planned for a 50-hectare site on a disused airfield, once the home of the Royal Flying Corps, just outside Andover.

In a far corner of the site, with traffic thundering along the A303 in the distance, a red balloon is tethered two metres off the ground. The balloon marks the planned road level around the MegaShed.

Full story here.

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