I AM an expat, now living in France.

A return visit to Salisbury, the town where I was both born and a town centre retailer for 35 years, proved heartbreaking.

The biggest shock was the once quirky Market Place.

The ‘architects’ of the tragedy should not be in business.

The planners responsible should all be removed from their posts for allowing such a dreadful travesty to take place.

I assume the cost was completely astronomical and probably at the cost of robbing the many retailers who have all become victims of the ongoing great rates robbery.

I feel so sorry for those now fallen retailers who, I am sure, put their lives, souls and significant investment into trying to make a shop work in Salisbury.

Many of these retailers were the heart, soul and essence of the city centre.

I know from bitter past experience that seeking help from the rating authority, in difficult times is futile.

The prize for their efforts in trying to make the city centre a better shopping experience is a vast concrete landscape resembling a Second World War aerodrome with not one grain of character.

Shame on you Wiltshire Council or whoever signed the cheque.

So town planners, where do you go from here?

You have removed all but a seriously dwindling number of retailers, utterly destroyed our once lovely market square, made parking utterly unbearable with a park and ride service that fails to meet the needs of both daytime and evening visits to the city.

I assume that park and ride is also horribly in the red.

You need a serious reality check and endeavour to cooperate much more with those who are victims, both past and present, of your incompetence.

Richard Pickett, Riberac, France