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Business owners' fears over Market Place plans
RESTAURANT owners in Salisbury Market Place are objecting to plans to rid the city centre of its car park saying it will “without doubt” have a damaging effect on business and jobs in the area.
The square is set to become completely pedestrianised, with new toilet facilities, lighting and seating also to be installed during work due to start in March.
But business owners say the loss of the car park could have a devastating effect on the vitality of the city centre and that there hasn’t been enough consultation.
They also raised fears about the future of other city centre car parks.
Stephen Dauwalder of La Mollina said: “This decision is being railroaded through by a select number of local politicians who, to me, demonstrate very little understanding of the area yet want to dictate to it.” There is agreement that the Market Place needs refurbishment but business owners fear that removing car parking will be detrimental to trade.
Stoby’s fish and chip shop owner Leuene Jackman said the car park was vital for the city centre, providing quick and easy access to shops and restaurants.
She said: “It brings a lot of people into the city because of the convenience. In the evenings Salisbury takes on another life, especially on Fridays and Saturdays as there are a number of nightclubs and people don’t like walking through the city for obvious reasons.”
The final decision on the work in New Canal and the Market Place, which is due to start in a few weeks, rests with Wiltshire Council cabinet member Dick Tonge.
Salisbury Area Board chairman Richard Clewer said: “The Market Place design was approved in August and before that we tried very hard to get the restaurant owners engaged.
“There was a working group set up and people knocked on every door to get their views – for them to say that they were not involved in the consultation is just not fair.”
He said the Traffic Regulation Order relating to the Market Place was advertised on large posters in the area.
Cllr Clewer added that although there are plans to remove other car parks at Salt Lane and Brown Street in the original Salisbury Vision documents, this would not happen without lengthy consultation.
• THE decision to remove disabled parking from the Market Place will not be reviewed after cllr Clewer used his casting vote. Cllr Clewer argued the area board had approved everything in August and that extra spaces for blue badge holders were being provided close by. Salisbury’s Knitters 4 Justice took their knitting to the meeting to protest against the plans.