A MEMBER of a society that encourages arts and commerce has called for a radical review of the proposed Maltings development.
John Potter, chairman of the Salisbury RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) Fellows Network, said the Maltings and Central car park redevelopment offers the chance to shape the city centre in a way that benefits everyone.
He said: “This initiative is about more than buildings. It concerns our identity, our understanding of our past and our aspirations for the future. This is a historic opportunity. As a community we owe it to our predecessors, contemporaries and future generations to get it right.”
Mr Potter said developer Stanhope Plc has to consider the needs and interests of all the various communities in Salisbury, including students, the military and rural communities.
Stanhope signed a development plan with Wiltshire Council last year, and in July made an agreement to work with the council to bring forward the proposed £75m redevelopment of the first phase of the site, a 250,000 sq ft mixed use scheme.
The proposals made public so far combine retail and leisure opportunities with residential units, riverside public space enhancements, new employment and a multi-storey car park.
But Mr Potter says although initial ideas for a ground plan were shared, very little about the nature, content and design of the buildings has been announced.
“We are told that shops and cafés are needed, but residents and visitors expect much more from a development on this scale at the heart of our city. We need a detailed planning brief that is unique to Salisbury and its citizens.”
He suggests it should include a regional art gallery to complement the city’s theatre scene and to encourage visitors to spend longer in Salisbury.
He also proposes a Sarum Café, which could serve as a venue for the city’s existing student population and those who will come to Salisbury with the arrival of a new Sixth Form College and University Technical College, as well as catering to the city’s military population and tourists.
Gary Bourne, director at Stanhope, said: “Since signing the development agreement, alongside Wiltshire Council, we have been working hard to progress the emerging masterplan proposals to deliver this once-in-a-generation scheme.
“We will ensure the sensitive retail-led redevelopment will benefit the whole of Salisbury, driving growth and reducing any spending currently lost to competing cities and, as well as retail, it will incorporate high quality public spaces and city centre homes in an attractive setting.”
He said the firm continues to engage with local stakeholders and key interest groups and will keep the public informed through the local area board. If all goes as planned the company is expected to have a final proposal before the end of this year, with construction starting in 2015.