Swindon & Wiltshire Business News

LEP to cover most of costs of suspended Salisbury project

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The majority of the costs associated with Salisbury's suspended pedestrianisation scheme will be met by Swindon & Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership.

The £3.1 million People Friendly Salisbury scheme would have seen a Low Traffic Zone introduced in Salisbury city centre, excluding the majority of vehicles and prioritising space for pedestrians and cyclists.

The move would have reduced air pollution and – it was hoped – attract more visitors.

But the scheme was suspended indefinitely by Wiltshire Council in November, following calls from the business community to lift traffic restrictions until the new year, combined with a change of leadership at Salisbury city hall from a pro-pedestrianisation regime to an anti-scheme one.

At a board meeting on January 28, the LEP agreed to proceed with a payment of £393,116 to Wiltshire Council to cover some of the £553,000 development costs of the project.

The remaining £906,884 was allocated to its loan facility, with the intention of supporting the Business Cyber Centre project it is developing.

The money was part of the £25 million Local Growth Fund which the LEP secured from government.

Cllr Philip Whitehead, leader of Wiltshire Council, said: “People Friendly Salisbury was developed as part of our wider strategy to support Salisbury and to help reduce traffic within the city, improve air quality and give pedestrians priority in the city centre.

"It will also deliver the objectives of the city’s Central Area Framework for people friendly streets and our climate change ambitions.

“We’re pleased that, like ourselves, the SWLEP continues to back the scheme and has agreed to cover our development costs. It also agrees with our intention to revisit the scheme when we have renewed support from all stakeholders in the city, and we are no longer impacted by Covid-19.”

Paddy Bradley, CEO of Swindon and Wiltshire LEP said, “The directors of the SWLEP are firmly behind this scheme and see it as a very good way for Salisbury to grow its city centre economy.

"We look forward to the time when conditions allow, the scheme’s intentions can be revisited and a project can start again with the backing of all stakeholders.”

Pictured: a pedestrianised Salisbury Market Place, which was previously a car park