Clean up city

FOLLOWING your article on the “dirty” city. An acquaintance from north Wiltshire visited Salisbury recently and sent me an email, excepts from which are: “We went to Salisbury last week and sorry but were disappointed. It was very very slow getting in – so I took the short cut down behind the railway station. Glad that still works. We parked behind the theatre – saw the little Thai restaurant was still there – so good so far.

“We decided to walk beside the river on the way to the cathedral. Well ... in front of us were three young men, pints in hand (glass not plastic), swearing, smoking, etc. They had two women with them – one pushing a buggy. An elderly gentleman came towards them (still sitting on his bike) but just slowly pushing it along with one foot. They ripped into him about bike riding, etc, on footpaths. We all left very quickly. Not pretty.

“Got to the lights to cross the road – and a woman drove straight through a red light in front of us. Went to the cathedral – and they wanted £7.50 to go in! That is the most I have ever paid.

“So we had a Thai and left. We went for a walk between the railway line and the river about five miles out of Salisbury. Lovely. You have a lot of work to do if you want tourists buddy. The drunks were the worst. And at 11.30ish!”

I was saddened to read this. The cuts in services and policing, lack of employment opportunities, traffic and Salisbury’s unkempt appearance let us all down. Although Salisbury is more than just about tourism we need a vibrant city with clean streets, less pollution, and a place where people want to live and visit.

Mark Duly, Salisbury


It’s just seedy

THE Salisbury conglomerates are quite right to call our city dirty. Probably the worst eyesore is the ring road with piles of dirt and litter in the gutters and the evidence of untreated or un-removed weeds. Who would want to take on any of our many empty shops or indeed one of the large empty office blocks in such a seedy atmosphere? Come on Salisbury parish council, get your act together, clean up and make Salisbury a pleasant place to visit and shop.

Andrew Poole, Alderbury


Bizarre ruling

ALONG with the majority of Wiltshire residents my husband and I are totally appalled by the amount of fly-tipping which goes on in our county.

With this in mind my husband applied to Wiltshire Council for a van and trailer permit to allow him to deposit rubbish at our local recycling centre.

I received a phone call from Wiltshire Council informing me that he could either have a permit for his van or for the trailer, but both. Admittedly I had not checked carefully enough the terms and conditions, but doesn’t this seem slightly bizarre to say the least? I did ask the lady from the council how my husband was supposed to get his trailer to the recycling centre if his van didn’t have a permit, but she didn’t seem to appreciate the irony of the situation.

We have a mattress to get rid of which will not fit in the van. I will have to arrange for a special lift to take it away. I am fortunate enough to be able to afford to have this done but I suspect some people are not.

Do you think that a slight change in the rules might help to cut down fly-tipping where people can take both a van and trailer to the dump?

It strikes me as totally bizarre and I would be interested to hear the council’s thought process behind this ruling.

Fiona Cramer, Porton


City ignored

PAUL Sample should be congratulated on stressing the urgent need to address the balance of power between North and South Wiltshire. Since 2009 the voice of Salisbury has been sadly ignored in Trowbridge.

Efforts to communicate have sadly failed. Our Salisbury Vision Board was set up to offer local views on proposals for the future development of Salisbury. Most recently the Board published a stimulating Infrastructure Plan from Alex Tregellas. But little was done to encourage local understanding or response to this.

Our Community Partnership has likewise been undermined. Effective leadership in a city such as ours requires a dynamic bond between civic and community leaders across all sectors. The Salisbury City Community Area Partnership (SCCAP) was set up by Wiltshire Council to achieve this through a Community Plan. Sadly there was no strategic link between Wiltshire’s Core Strategy and the Plan we were invited to create. A few years later the Partnership and its funding were disbanded without consultation or public discussion. Furthermore, WC earlier abandoned a committee that it had set up to explore the important possibility of a Science University for Salisbury and South Wilts. Years later we were told that the proposal was dropped for lack of funding (this is strange, since there’s plenty of money for a large hole under Stonehenge!).

Three things are now needed for truly democratic government in South Wiltshire: 1) Strong leadership that binds local government to cross-sector action.

2) A coherent Neighbourhood Plan embracing: A Salisbury/Stonehenge bypass; a transport interchange; and an enterprise park at Fugglestone Red to replace Churchfields.

3) Effective mechanisms for Salisbury to recover its ancient role of civic leadership across South Wiltshire.

John Potter, Salisbury


New chances

IT was good to read about the action plan to help children living in poverty (p12, March 16) and particularly about the focus on children and families who are Just About Managing – the so-called JAMs. This is a welcome initiative – according to Salisbury Area Board figures there are about 995 children in the poverty group and many more in the JAMs. Some readers may be surprised that the figures are so high for Salisbury.

A consequence of poverty is that survival becomes the priority and anything else becomes an inaccessible extra. At Children’s Chance we provide some of the extras (e.g. sports and musical activities) to try and ensure that opportunities to nurture talent and raise self-esteem are not missed. To discuss this and other child wellbeing and life chance issues we are holding a Question Time debate at the Guildhall on 11th May. We would like to invite readers to come along and ask questions and ‘have a say’ about what our leaders and policy makers can do to support children in our community, and help alleviate child poverty. Information and free tickets from Jane Miller Chair, Children’s Chance Think of them THE dangers of using a mobile while driving have rightly been highlighted lately. There is, however, a potential danger that concerns me and which I see quite often.

I have many times seen parents, or carers, with young children, their attention entirely on their conversation. Children get bored easily, with mum or dad ignoring them for the ‘phone, they will begin to look around for interest. They tend to be impulsive and, especially small children, have no sense of danger. They can literally run into danger very quickly. Children need the full attention of their carer, that cannot be given if all attention is on the mobile.

Children are undoubtedly worth infinitely more than a mobile conversation, because of their vulnerabilities they need the full and undivided attention of an adult. They can act very spontaneously – you need to be able to also.

Veronica M Burton, Wilton


New heights

YOUR front-page photo of Gary Price changing the bulbs at the top of the cathedral spire prompts a fond memory. The Very Revd Kenneth Haworth, Dean of Salisbury Cathedral 1960-1971, reckoned that if his Clerk of Works (then Bert Parsons) had to climb the spire to change the bulbs, then he, too, should be prepared to climb to the top with him. I recall seeing two remote figures at the top on several occasions, with Kenneth’s wife Sybil standing in the doorway of the Deanery looking upwards in resigned perplexity.

Richard Seal, Bishopstone


Who is right?

IT appears that there is a difference of opinion within Wiltshire Police about the delays in the handling of calls to 101. Following my complaint, the letter in response from the Contact Management Department told me that I had been accidentally disconnected. Your reporter quoted the Crime Commissioner, Angus Macpherson, as saying the matter is being tackled later this month as the problem is the “I’ll put you through doesn’t go anywhere”. That suggests a different problem. Who is telling the truth?

Michael Glover, Dinton


Heath probe

You kindly printed my letter in The Journal (March 9) quoting the extraordinary £700,000 spent on investigating the late Edward Heath’s reputation. I am told that by February that figure had risen to £1,066,722, (our money) and involved the work of 17 police officers. We learn the investigation is now to be closed. How odd when just a few weeks ago Chief Constable of Wiltshire Mike Veale assured us he was 120 per cent certain of its truth. Many months ago I remember seeing a police officer at the gates of Arundells actually soliciting statements from the public regarding the former resident’s lifestyle… much to the delight of every passing fantasist.

I trust Veale, or his successor, will now concentrate on the problems actually confronting our fine Cathedral city.

John Blundell Mein, Salisbury