I really want People Friendly Salisbury to work. Closing roads and creating a pleasant city centre is lovely but it must come with proper cycle and pedestrian paths, park and ride on Sundays and a solution to the A36.
The lack of buy-in from the city and the outer communities really concerns me. If this goes badly it will delay any opportunities for improvement in the future.
It's ludicrous that a Conservative government, with a Conservative MP, a Conservative council cannot work together to come up with a holistic solution.
Liberal Democrats are seeking to build a non-partisan working group to ensure the ambitions for the ‘people friendly Salisbury’ are truly realised.
Liberal Democrat spokesperson, Victoria Charleston, welcomes the ‘People Friendly Salisbury’ plans: “A people and cycle friendly Salisbury is a worthy ambition, and one Salisbury Lib Dems has held for a very long time,” she explains. “Salisbury Lib Dems championed the pedestrianisation of the Market Square 10 years ago, and at the same time pushed for further parts of the city to be made more pedestrian friendly. The problem here, however, is that Wiltshire Council is not listening to the people of Salisbury. The current plans have caused significant tension, with residents and businesses alike voicing their concerns.”
“I want a city where parents feel safe cycling with their families, visitors are able to admire our city free from traffic, our small businesses are able to flourish from a European style cafe culture, and our elderly residents can safely enjoy their city. I worry that the current plans, seemingly without real support from residents or even from our City Counsellors, will scupper our chances to revolutionise our city.”
With a Conservative majority at Wiltshire Council, it is incomprehensible to see Salisbury’s Conservative councillors contesting the decisions of their fellow party members. The traffic and pedestrianisation issue has clearly opened up a fault line between County Councillors in Trowbridge and City Councillors in Salisbury, with Trowbridge steamrolling over local concerns, indicating a lack of accountability.
Charleston is ready to work cross-party to ensure Salisbury’s voice is heard and listened to in Trowbridge. “I am fully in support of pedestrianising the city, but am alarmed by the number of concerns which have not been taken into account. I and my colleagues want to work with anyone and everyone who is keen to have a say and make this ambitious plan truly owned by the people who live, work, and socialise in our city.”
As part of this commitment, Charleston and Salisbury Lib Dems have commissioned a residents’ survey to canvass local opinions on the plans. Questionnaires will be distributed to households across Salisbury, with the aim of better understanding public opinion, and thus informing the debate with more substantive qualitative and quantitative evidence.
“Road emissions make up a fifth of our national greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to climate change; the greatest threat facing our world,” notes Charleston. “It is the responsible step to take to try and encourage people to travel on foot, on bike, and via public transport where possible, and to create a transport system which enables parents to safely cycle with their families, visitors to admire our city, and our small businesses to flourish. The possibility of realising this goal deserves far more consideration than a rushed two-week consultation. We have one chance to do it properly, and to ensure it works for everyone in Salisbury, for generations to come.”