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Salisbury Vision chairman resigns
QUESTIONS have been asked over the future of the Salisbury Vision after its chairman Sir Christopher Benson announced his decision to resign.
Sir Christopher, who was 80 in July and has chaired the Salisbury Vision for more than four years, said: “I think the Vision has turned the page, it is looking at things like transport and needs someone who lives in Salisbury all the time and deals with the situation day-to-day to lead it through its next stage.
“It’s been an interesting role, and frustrating at times. A low point was when someone said they didn’t want any investment in Salisbury and 190 people stood up and clapped.
“But it has done a great deal of important work that will profit the people of Salisbury. “There is a long way to go but things are moving.”
The Salisbury Vision was set up to oversee the regeneration of five areas of Salisbury - the central car park and Maltings, Churchfields Industrial Estate, Salisbury Guildhall, the Market Place and Southampton Road.
Members include business owners, councillors and representatives from the arts and leisure industry.
However, Labour councillor and chairman of Salisbury Area Board Ricky Rogers is calling for the vision board to be scrapped.
He wants the elected members of the area board to have more say over the future direction of Salisbury and has written to Wiltshire Council leader Jane Scott to express his views.
“I have a strong view that the Salisbury Vision board has run its course and should now be dissolved,” cllr Rogers said. “It is not held in high esteem by the Salisbury public who see it as an unelected quango out of touch with public opinion.
“I would strongly suggest that the area board and its partners take forward the vision for Salisbury.”
In 2011 the Salisbury Vision handed over the refurbishment of the Market Place to Salisbury Area Board after a public backlash against its ideas, which included fountains, tree felling and moving the war memorial.
Since then the vision has concentrated on its other objectives and is also looking at transport, parking and pedestrian infrastructure.
But former area board chairman and vision board member Richard Clewer said the idea of scrapping it was “absolutely ridiculous”.
“The vision is essential for future development in Salisbury,” he said.
“By being non-political it can be much broader and free with its decisions as its members aren’t tied by political allegiances.
“Salisbury Area Board would not be able to oversee a project as complex as the Maltings - it’s been hard enough with the Market Place.
“There are absolutely no plans to get rid of the Salisbury Vision.” A new chairman is expected to be appointed soon.
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