WILTSHIRE Council says it is determined to “get it right” when it comes to finding a site for a new coach park in Salisbury.
A consultation is under way to help decide if Brown Street car park should be turned into a short stay coach park for tourist buses once the existing facilities at Millstream are lost as part of the Maltings and Central car park redevelopment.
But disabled user groups, tour guides, shoppers and motorcyclists have already raised concerns about the idea.
They are worried about more coaches travelling through the city centre, insufficient facilities at Brown Street and the loss of a level car park within easy reach of the shops as well as what will happen to proposed extra motorcycle parking.
Wiltshire Council’s Cabinet member responsible for economic development, Fleur de Rhe-Philipe says they will “talk to and listen to local people throughout the entire process” and stressed that no final decision has been taken and toilet facilities will be provided close to any coach stop off point.
“We know how important coach travel is to the tourism of Salisbury and we are determined to get it right,” she added.
“Through our consultation on the Central Car Park and Maltings development the need for a bus and coach interchange was identified and we believe this is vital.
"As a result, Stanhope, the developer, made a commitment at a recent Salisbury Area Board to include a bus and coach drop-off and pick-up point as part of this new scheme.
"However, short stay coach parking will be needed elsewhere in the city for coach drivers to park up while visitors are enjoying everything the city of Salisbury has to offer.”
Last year representatives of tourism organisation VisitWiltshire met John Burch, regional director of the Confederation of Passenger Transport, who recommended having a main, significantly improved, coach facility at the Britford Park & Ride site, central drop-off points and some short-stay coach parking in Brown Street.
VisitWiltshire chief executive David Andrews said: “With the impetus for change brought about by the Maltings redevelopment, Salisbury has a great opportunity to improve the coach welcome we give visitors, which will help us continue to grow Salisbury’s visitor economy.
“We’re working with the BID, Salisbury City Council, Wiltshire Council and others to achieve this.”
Business leaders, motorists and other groups will be invited to have their say as the Salisbury Vision’s task group on car and coach parking investigates the proposal.