Watching an HGV driver struggling…

Watching an HGV driver struggling…

The flower festival in the cathedral.

The flower festival in the cathedral.

First published in Wain's World Salisbury Journal: Photograph of the Author by

… to manoeuvre his 44-tonner into Fisherton Street and under the railway bridge to leave the city, it occurred to me that the Government’s proposal to stretch these monsters by another two metres will have a serious impact for planners.

Of course, the idea’s still only a “consultation” – just as it was in the 1990s when hauliers lobbied to raise the maximum permitted weight from 38-tonne trucks (ie the ones with fives axles) to 44 tonnes (six axles). At that time either the Road Haulage Association or the Freight Transport Association (I forget which) gave a press conference and claimed the move would “cut the number of HGVs on our roads by several thousand”. It was only under some very close questioning by the assembled transport correspondents that the chairman finally conceded that he didn’t mean an actual reduction in numbers, but a smaller increase – which was a very different thing.

Anyway, if you look you’ll see that today most HGVs on British roads do indeed have six axles, and anyone who imagines this latest lengthening won’t go through is living in cloud-cuckoo land. So the first of these leviathans could appear on our roads in just four years’ time, in 2015. Which means in turn that moving the industrial estate from Churchfields now becomes more urgent. Still, I’m sure they already know that in Trowbridge.

Not being much of a gardener…

… And colour-blind to boot, I wasn’t expecting to get much of a kick from the Festival of Flowers in the Cathedral. But it really was quite something, and it’s not surprising that visitors flocked in from all over the country.

There seemed to be a lot of blue, and this was enhanced by the great lantern decoration over the spire crossing. But for me one of the most moving displays was the tiny garden of remembrance in front of the laid-up regimental colours. The crosses made the wreath of poppies particularly poignant, as you can see from my photograph. All in all, a brilliant show.

Talking of memorials and remembrance…

… Congratulations to whoever managed to get our own city war memorial given a Grade II listing by English Heritage. Anything which helps to delay the foolish proposals of Salisbury Vision is welcome. Now, if only it was possible to stop the developers from chopping down the Market Place trees. The trouble is that until they’ve been felled, people won’t realise what a terrible decision it was.

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