SALISBURY’S bus station should be converted into a tourist coach stop and visitor centre according to a local businessman.

Andy Rhind-Tutt, a director of Salisbury and District Chamber of Commerce, said the project could be a “golden opportunity” for the city and its businesses.

At the moment coach visitors coming to Salisbury are either dropped off at the Central car park, which is due to be redeveloped, or on busy Exeter Street.

Wilts & Dorset bus company is planning to sell the bus station on Endless Street this summer and Mr Rhind-Tutt says it could become a hub for all tourist coaches.

He would also like to see a visitor centre where tourist information is available.

The purchase could be funded by the Business Improvement District (BID) scheme where companies, including national chains, team up to fund long-term projects that could benefit the city.

A consultation is currently underway to discover if Salisbury’s 920 city centre businesses want to join the BID and how much they would be willing to invest in schemes to promote and improve the city.

If a BID is established, members will vote on any proposals including the purchase and transformation of the bus station.

Mr Rhind-Tutt also hopes that Salisbury, Wilton and Amesbury will work together to keep the million and a half tourists who visit Stonehenge each year in the area for longer.

“We have an area rich in things for people to do,” he said. “Yet we are in our own individual pockets doing our own thing.

“We have one year left before the new Stonehenge visitor centre opens and we have to do something about it. “We should form a regeneration partnership representing the three towns. We should have some high-level people working with English Heritage and Visit Wiltshire.”

Mr Rhind-Tutt also suggested that coach visitors are offered a variety of itineraries when visiting Salisbury and the surrounding area, and tickets to Stonehenge could be available at the visitor centre in the coach park.