Over the years, readers of this column may have gained the false impression that the writer was opposed to scrapping five District Councils in favour of a single unitary authority.

Critics have suggested that phrases like “They’re bonkers”, or “What lunatic dreamed up this one” or “We’re going to get ripped-off so lie back and enjoy it” could be misconstrued as attacking the single council concept.

Last week a Wiltshire Councillor voiced irritation over the Journal’s campaign to reverse the decision to scrap one-hour car-parking charges, calling it "the usual Journal stunt”, and asking “When did you last see anything positive about Wiltshire Council?”

Ouch! But perhaps it’s a valid point. So in the interests of balance let's accentuate the positive with some stories from Trowbridge you may have missed.

City traffic congestion ended

Wiltshire Council’s bold new strategy of simplifying and harmonising parking charges has had a dramatic effect on the city centre.

Gone are the old nose-to-tail traffic queues; there's plenty of space and most motorists can now just drive straight in and spend up to two hours strolling through the peaceful shopping centre.

And many of the shops themselves are pleasantly empty, so that waiting at checkouts is a thing of the past…

Rats in rubbish scare ‘fanciful’

Fears that switching to fortnightly refuse collections could lead to increased health problems from vermin have been dismissed as unfounded by Wiltshire Council.

“This is a tired re-hash of a very old scare-story,” said a spokesman.

“Whilst it’s true that the last known British case of Black Death occurred locally (at Porton Down in 1962), let me reassure you it was nothing to do with dustbins or rats.

If anyone’s worried about leaving rubbish outside the house in the summer heat the remedy is simple – keep your wheelie-bin in the kitchen…”

Salisbury ready for bypass work to start

Wiltshire Council’s foresight in providing Salisbury with five park-and-ride facilities in advance of building a bypass means construction will be much easier when work on the Outer Relief Road begins (in 2024).

“Other cities have built their bypasses and P&Rs at the same time,” said a spokesman.

“Our system makes life much easier, because all we need to do is build a road to link up with what already exists…”

Next week’s good news stories: Why chopping down all the trees in the Market Square makes sense; why unelected Area Boards are more democratic; and a visit to Salisbury Police Headquarters - at Melksham.

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