CONCERNS have been raised about the future of a partnership set up to promote Salisbury.

The Salisbury City Community Area Partnership (SCAP) was set up five years ago so people in the city to have their voices heard and their views included in a community plan.

It is open to all members of the community – including residents, city and parish councillors, businesses, and representatives from the police, fire service and health services.

Wessex Community Action has been paid by Wiltshire Council to provide administration since the partnership was set up in 2009, but due to a cut in funding it now has to change the way it operates.

“What we are trying to do is keep the partnership together,” said area board chairman Cllr Ricky Rogers.

“There is a reduction in revenue funding and we’ve got to try to keep the community groups and partnerships working in a different way.”

The area board is hoping Salisbury City Council will work with Wiltshire Council to take on the running of the partnership.

“We were in a situation where we were paying an outside agency to do what we could do ourselves,” said Cllr Rogers. But concerns have been raised about the impact on the partnership’s political independence.

Wiltshire councillor Richard Clewer, a former chairman of the area board, said: “My view is that we need to know what the community really wants, not what councillors want for it.

“It is absolutely not what the partnership is for. It is not about councillors taking over. This is a political takeover of what is not supposed to be a political group.”

But Cllr Rogers said: “We can’t do nothing; that’s not an option. There is no suggestion of area board members or city councillors taking over. The role is to give some of the theme groups added support and make them feel a bit more important.

“We want councillors to support them and make sure their ideas turn into some sort of project they can bring back to Salisbury Area Board for grant funding.”

The proposals are set to be discussed at the next Salisbury Area Board meeting.