Government funding for a £25 million project to build a new visitor centre at Stonehenge has been axed as part of a review of public spending projects.

The withdrawal of public funding for the plans – which include a new visitor centre and closing an adjacent main road – is the latest setback to efforts to improve the World Heritage Site. But the Treasury said that if non-government funding was identified, the scheme to revitalise the prehistoric site could still go-ahead.

English Heritage said it was “extremely disappointed” that £10m promised by former prime minister Gordon Brown would not be forthcoming but that did not necessarily mean the project’s end.

Under the plans unveiled by English Heritage last year, facilities including a cafe, shop and toilets would be housed in areas of glass and timber 1.5 miles west of the prehistoric stones, to which they would be linked by a transit system.

The scheme is the latest in a long line of proposals for the heritage site.

In 2000 two projects were planned to remove roads from around Stonehenge by placing the nearby A303 in a tunnel and to relocate visitor facilities to a new centre away from the stones.

But the Government pulled the plug on those proposals in 2007 when it said it would not proceed with the A303 tunnel in view of estimated costs of around £500m.

English Heritage said: “It is Britain’s premier World Heritage Site.

“It was a key feature in Britain's bid for the London Olympics.

“Transforming the monument’s setting and the visitor experience is vital to Britain’s reputation, and to our tourism industry, especially in 2012 but also thereafter.”

Tourism and Heritage Minister John Penrose said: “Even though we can’t afford to fund the project today, it remains a priority.”