Salisbury should become independent

SOME six years ago the Government decided to create larger administrative units of local government as a costcutting exercise.

The offer we were given was to join the rest of the county of Wiltshire.

That made Salisbury city a parish council.

Some of us objected at the time, but we were (typically) ignored.

Why Wiltshire? Because we are in that county?

Is it what we would choose?

Is it sensible?

I think the answer to both those questions is “no”.

Look at the shape of Wiltshire. It has a space in the middle large enough to bury the Isle of Wight.

The road transport between Salisbury and west Wiltshire is poor.

Believe me - I was a WCC member for four years and it isn’t easy to get from here to Trowbridge and back.

We do not principally think of Trowbridge or anywhere in the west of Wiltshire, either for business or services or other needs.

The geography and geology of the west Wiltshire towns are different to ours.

They resemble Somerset and Gloucestershire and people there naturally think in terms of Bath, Bristol and those counties when they need something extra, like hospitals. Whereas we look to Southampton, Bournemouth and Winchester – the historic Wessex area.

Salisbury is huge by parish council standards.

We are the largest in the country, by population, money and artistic facilities.

Quite apart from having too little say in the management and care of our valuable facilities, there are issues such as the huge car-parking charges which are clearly against our interests.

A longer list of contentious issues could be made.

While a change will be difficult and would take a number of years to effect, it is not impossible.

We could become part of Wessex again. In order to achieve this we'd have to do a lot of planning and demonstrate that it is what we really want, in preference to what we have at present.

We could do what Swindon has done, and become an independent entity.

I suspect that that would be strongly to our economic advantage.

JM English, Salisbury

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