Health chaos

Your article stating that 850 more houses are to be built in Salisbury has raised some doubts in my mind as to whether the Wiltshire Council planners give any thoughts to the future results of their decisions. Tidworth, Larkhill and Bulford are due to welcome some 4,500 troops back from Europe and houses and barracks are being built for their accommodation. Archers Gate in Amesbury grows steadily larger, while the new development in Wilton adds to the number of people in Salisbury, as does further building on the Devizes Road and at Old Sarum.

The problem that worries me? When I last checked, I could find only ONE hospital in Salisbury and that is overloaded already to breaking point. Hopefully, the returning troops will bring their own medical unit, staffed for their dedicated use, but this will presumably not be equipped to deal with the more serious cases. With thousands of people coming in to fill this wonderful new housing, has the Council yet thought far enough ahead to remedy the medical chaos that will ensue? It would be nice to hear their plans!

Charles Jackson, Porton


Plan outrage

IT is an outrage that Wiltshire Council are seeking to resuscitate the discredited plan for major development on the Netherhampton Road. At the Examination in Public in 2010, I submitted on behalf of the Harnham Neighbourhood Association evidence that traffic volumes along Harnham Road/Netherhampton Road were already close to maximum capacity – evidence that Wiltshire Council did not attempt to refute.

The de facto plan that emerged was not to everyone’s satisfaction, but it did have a coherent logic behind it. Major commercial development would take place primarily to the north of the city where it would form a cluster with developments at Porton Down, Boscombe Down and Solstice Park. Housing development to the north would contribute much of the workforce. In the long term, some form of northern bypass for the A36 would provide the optimum transport network.

So what has changed? Harnham Road, which is the primary access from West Harnham and Netherhampton Road to the City centre and the ring road, is absolutely incapable of “comprehensive road improvements” and cannot support significant additional traffic volumes. The only mitigation possible is to revive the so-called relief road, and I wouldn’t hold my breath on that one! Wiltshire Council states that plans to redevelop Churchfields are complex and taking longer than expected. This is absolutely no excuse for abandoning a strategically coherent plan for an unsustainable fix. I had thought that it was common ground that development of brownfield sites be prioritised over new greenfield sites. We need Wiltshire Council to withdraw this proposal immediately, concentrate their energies on resolving the “complexities” of Churchfields, and not make yet another strategic blunder.

John McGarry, Harnham


Festival fears

I just cannot believe it has happened! I have lived in Salisbury for nearly 60 years and watched the vibrant festival grow into something that I am so proud of. Friends who live hundreds of miles away come to stay and join us for wonderful evenings and soak up the atmosphere and spend money at the festival and in the pubs and restaurants in the city centre.

So why and who chose that Salisbury should not have a festival any longer? Why and who decided that, after years of a fabulous showcase of theatre, visual arts, literature, cinema and dance. this was surplus to the requirements that the Festival’s huge audience commanded?

I am very concerned that the Festival will not be happening in the future and feel embittered that the wonderful Festival staff were made redundant just two weeks before this year’s event started.

We have been told that the Salisbury Playhouse will bring it back in 2019 but I feel very cynical about this. The programme will not reach the streets, parks and schools, as the Salisbury International Festival did.

I support Deborah Fox and Peter Williams who both expressed their opinions so well over the last two weeks. Somebody has to realise that the Festival is not something to save money on by cutting funding! It impacts on so many jobs and such a wide audience. Tourists will not stay in Salisbury to see the Cathedral and Stonehenge alone. They will just use Salisbury as a day trip and move on to a more vibrant venue such as Winchester.

Vicky Bilton, Harnham


Bills to pay

I WAS surprised by the comments made by Brig Oubridge in his letter last week. If he and the Green Party had campaigned hard enough previously on their manifesto proposal of phasing in a four-day working week, I could have had the Friday off work after the Salisbury constituency general election count.

However, rent and bills needed to be paid, therefore I was unable to campaign as much as I would have liked in the snap general election, as I still wanted a job to go back to afterwards. No wonder our Houses of Parliament are full to the brim with career politicians when working people, passionate about their political beliefs, do not stand a chance. It was a tough general election campaign for UKIP, and I would like to thank everyone who believed in me in the constituency and took the time to go and put a cross next to my name.

UKIP are going nowhere and we must continue to hold the Conservative Party to account over Brexit. It has been nearly a year since the historic referendum result and I pay tribute to the people of the Salisbury constituency who defied the political establishment and voted to leave the European Union.

Dean Palethorpe, Salisbury UKIP chairman and parliamentary candidate 2017


Poor care

I have had considerable experience of the care offered to people at both Fountains Way and Green Lane Hospital in Devizes. I would have no hesitation in letting my daughter go to Devizes again and be cared for at Green Lane where I found the staff to be excellent, extremely caring, patient and made her feel she was a person not a number, nothing was too much trouble for them.

I can say without hesitation that the care my daughter received at Fountains Way was totally inferior to that at Green Lane. I would have considerable reservations about letting her return following some of the experiences that she had there.

Janet Scammell, Bulford


No kidding

ENGLISH Heritage have made a big fuss over how green they are, with car share and carbon footprint in last week’s Journal to justify their so called car parking charges at this Summer Solstice.

No mention of the air miles their advertising abroad encourages, or the carbon footprint of the coaches and cars they encourage to bring their tourists and visitors for the other 364 days of the year.

Or the number of daily vehicle movements their buses make through the World Heritage Site.

Who do they think they are trying to kid? I guess they are not as green as they would have us believe. And guess what? We are not as green (naive) as we look, either.

King Arthur Pendragon, Salisbury


Ticket trouble

On Tuesday this week I parked in Salt Lane car park, minimum charge £2.50 for two hours. My wallet contained four pound coins - three of the new currency and not enough loose to make up the shortfall. At this point I remembered Mr Dalton’s letter to the Journal (June 1, Car Park Con?). He is obviously a young man and is au fait with mobile technology. Here was I with enough money in my wallet to buy a suckling pig but not of the correct outdated sort to pay for a parking ticket. I am a pensioner and live in the woods where there is no mobile reception. The only phone I have is screwed to the wall and connects to the world via a piece of wire.

By not updating their meters the council are positively discriminating against people by way of both age and geographic location.

James Wheildon, West Grimstead


Own views

I have expressed my views on NHS matters several times through the Journal’s letters pages.

I have been asked by Dr Christine Blanshard, Medical Director at Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust to make it clear that the views expressed are my own, not those of the Trust management. I am happy to do this. I should add that as a consultant approaching retirement, I feel able to express views held by many NHS employees that other staff may be reluctant to declare openly.

Dr Robert Scott-Jupp, Salisbury


Save festival

I wholeheartedly agree with Deborah Fox, who pointed out the seriousness of the decision to cancel next year’s Salisbury Festival in The Journal two weeks ago. Peter Williams made the case in last week’s Journal that this is due more to the lack of a major sponsor than the merging of the Arts Council’s previous individual funding for The Playhouse, The Festival and the Arts Centre, all of whom play an invaluable role in the cultural life of Salisbury and the surrounding region.

There is no doubt that the Salisbury Arts Community have the talent and expertise to put together an inspirational showcase to coincide with what would have been next year’s Festival dates. Hopefully, Richard Clewer as a South Wiltshire Councillor and the Member of the Wiltshire Cabinet who now holds the Arts Portfolio will be able to help make this happen.

The significance of the loss of next year’s Festival stretches far beyond the Salisbury Arts Community. The international reputation of the Festival has been built up over many years, bringing visitors from far and wide, who especially book to come and attend events, staying in hotels, eating in restaurants and contributing to the local economy in numerous different ways.

Over 30,000 voters have put their faith in John Glen as Conservative MP for Salisbury and South Wiltshire. His column in last week’s Journal – on the same spread as Peter Williams’ article ‘Need to plan for future of festival’ – is headlined ‘I try to work for the interests of all voters’. In the last three lines, he states that ‘he was honoured to receive a call on Tuesday from Downing Street, appointing him as Minister for Arts at the Department for Culture Media and Sport’.

My plea to John Glen in his new role as Minister for Arts is that there can be no more vital opportunity to demonstrate his commitment to all South Wiltshire voters, than to play a central and pro-active role in ensuring the future of the festival.

Judy Ward, Laverstock