WELL done to the planning inspector who turned down a scheme to convert Salisbury’s youth hostel to retirement homes.

As the county’s tourism body VisitWiltshire told her, there’s strong demand here for budget accommodation of a type that appeals to young people.

I don’t think Tesco Towers is going to fill that niche.

The Youth Hostel Association says, somewhat sniffily, that it will “review the outcome” of its appeal and “take any decision that best serves our organisation”.

That’s fine. But the decisions that best serve Salisbury’s economy are ones that encourage tourists to stay here for longer than the average coach party of Americans, to explore a bit more than just the cathedral and Stonehenge, and to spend money in our shops and cafes.

There’s no doubt that we will also, in due course, require more purpose-built accommodation for older people in the city, given our ageing population.

And sites will have to be found.

Not this one, however.

Although the YHA has claimed that its building is no longer viable, I’ve spoken to people who are convinced they can make a go of it, have experience of the industry, and are keen to be given the opportunity.

So perhaps the YHA would be better off concentrating its efforts elsewhere, and letting someone else get on with the job?

Meanwhile our traders ought to offer a vote of thanks to city councillor Margaret Willmot for her campaigning on this issue.

n I’ll be seeing the sights of Salisbury and our surrounding countryside through a visitor’s eyes myself, soon, when my mother moves down from Essex.

I’m really looking forward to it – and not only because it’ll mean an end to nightmare stop-start journeys round the M25.

Taking her out and about will give me a chance to rediscover the advantages of living here, which will be a good thing since I feel I’ve been turning into a professional Moaning Minnie lately.

One of the first places on the to-do list if the weather holds out will be New Forest Lavender at Landford, the sort of small family business it’s a pleasure to support.

Their cream tea with lavender scones and a pot of Earl Grey is the perfect way to round off a summer afternoon.

And now, with Mum in tow, I’ll have a great excuse to go back for another one!