Why coach plan could avert tourism disaster

First published in Postbag
Last updated

I HAVE been actively involved with much of the Brown Street debate and there is wide cross party support for Brown St to be used for coach parking.

It is first worth understanding why this is being considered.

Councillors have been frustrated by an inability to take positive action to prevent the closure of Amesbury and Salisbury bus stations, which has resulted increase in roadside bus stops and traffic congestion – Salisbury’s entire town centre has effectively become a bus station.

Now if councillors cannot have a say in the actions of private companies they surely can in projects that are being overseen by Wiltshire Council.

With specific regard to the Maltings development, which first publicly raised its head in November 2012, there has been plenty of public interest.

The development encompasses the entire Central car park, coach park, along with the library. Sainsbury’s, Maltings and City Hall area form phase two of the project.

To my utter amazement and without forewarning Wiltshire Council signed over the retail-led project to private developer Stanhope in July 2013 without giving any regard to the subsequent consequences on car and coach parking.

Worse still, Stanhope, apart from being incredibly poor at communication, seems to be aloof to those representing the concerns of the city.

While there was a vague element of acknowledgement from Stanhope at the March 2014 area board meeting for the need for some sort of bus and coach parking, there has been absolutely no detail and no response to requests for detail.

So it is with this background and working against an unknown timescale with a possible tourism disaster, which Salisbury cannot afford, that the Brown Street coach parking proposals have been created.

The proposal is not ideal, but then Salisbury’s medieval layout does not lend itself by design to ideal solutions.

This is in my opinion a very good solution.

That said, the long term solution to car parking in the city is laughable when Wiltshire Council will only accept cost-neutral changes to parking charges as part of their review and yet, in the long term, will lose all of the Central car park revenue to whoever Stanhope appoints.

Brown Street and Salt Lane car parks are still earmarked for redevelopment.

This, I assume, will then impact on future bus subsidies?

Cllr Tom Corbin Bemerton Ward Labour Parliamentary candidate for Salisbury Constituency

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