Opposition and response over perceived land grab

First published in Postbag

WE would like to thank Annie Riddle for highlighting the similarity between the decision taken by the former Wiltshire County Council to exterminate the four district councils of Wiltshire against all our wishes and that of Salisbury City Parish Council, which narrowly voted to take the same action against all its neighbouring parishes (except Wilton). Annie pointed out that Wilton was excluded as they had ‘history’ and their representatives might object.

This points to a decision taken only on the grounds of, “Let’s take over the weak, as they cannot fight back”.

We do know, of course, that whilst that appears to be a major factor, the other reason is to fund a new roof on the Guildhall, by filling the cash deficit with the ‘bonus’ funds from the neighbours.

Is it just coincidence, that Wilton would not notice the increase in their council tax, as they pay almost as much as Salisbury. Our own residents in Laverstock & Ford parish pay £92 less than Salisbury and all the other surrounding parishes are close to our figure.

It is obvious to everyone that the only motivation is to grab our money and of course our green fields, so the city can fill them in with building, as would be their right (and normal inside a city boundary). In the case of Laverstock & Ford, the increase today would mean a quarter of a million pounds to Salisbury.

It would eventually be nearer half a million pounds.

However, it cannot be all about money can it? Surely, Salisbury City Council has an offer none of us can refuse? Like all undesired invaders, they can be repelled when the people become aware of their tyrannical thoughts.

If you think taking over Wilton would be difficult, then beware the communities of Old Sarum, Hampton Park, Ford and Laverstock (including Milford).

You have upset the neighbours, Salisbury, we are united and ready to protect ourselves. However, it is not too late to withdraw gracefully and remain good neighbours. For the benefit of our own residents, look out for the September Parish Newsletter, which contains more detailed information for you.

Christopher Burnell, Chairman, Laverstock & Ford Parish Council

Ian McLennan, Wiltshire Councillor

Bill Moss, Wiltshire Councillor

I feel I must write in response to Andrew Prince's letter of August 21 claiming that Salisbury City Council is launching in a takeover bid of the surrounding areas. Salisbury City Council is not making this decision and can not 'land grab' anywhere.

A review of parish boundaries is being carried out by Wiltshire Council with the intention of presenting any recommendations to The Boundary Commission. Salisbury City Council was asked for its view on the matter. During this review all parish councils have been asked the same question and all will carry the same weight of influence in the review. There will also be a public consultation in all affected areas before any recommendations are ratified.

Because of the rarity of these reviews and the gradual expansion of Salisbury, there are currently a few strange anomalies around the city, such as a small part of Harnham that is part of Fovant, Bishopdown Farm is split in half, and the new Salisbury city cemetery on Devizes Road will be technically in South Newton.

I am sure that some residents in these areas don’t even realise that they are not in Salisbury.

The city council debated its response and took the view that rather than just correcting these anomalies and waiting for more to appear as the city continues to grow, we should look long term and consider everything.

The views of other parishes were debated at length, both at the full council meeting and within the political groups that make up the council even though we do not represent these areas.

We were also strongly lobbied by Wiltshire councillor Ian McLennan of Laverstock and Ford who was, quite rightly, fighting for his residents’ views.

I, along with all my fellow councillors, am happy to help anybody I can, whether they are in my ward or not, or even not within the city boundaries.

But when it comes to voting I have to represent the residents who elected me otherwise I would not be doing my job. As a representative for the people of St Edmunds and Milford and a Salisbury city councillor I voted for what I thought was the best for them and for the City of Salisbury - just as Laverstock and Ford Parish Council have put forward the view that is best for their residents. To be attacked as undemocratic for voting for what I believe is in the best interests of my ward members is ludicrous and seems even more absurd when everyone gets the same opportunity to take part in this review.

Cllr Mark Timbrell

St. Edmunds and Milford Ward Salisbury City Council

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