THE Christmas market will spread to the grounds of Salisbury Cathedral this year, if the latest plans go ahead.

The four-week event, run by Salisbury Business Improvement District, was previously held in the Guildhall Square.

The BID says the market will encourage people back into the city after the nerve agent attack on Sergei and Yulia Skripal in March.

It will boost Salisbury's credibility and "repair any damage done to its reputation, which has unfortunately affected local business and visitor figures", the BID said.

Applying to Wiltshire Council for planning permission, it said: "This will be a fantastic opportunity for the local business and residents to come together in support of Salisbury and to retain and increase footfall."

The BID said it had consulted residents and businesses and those near the Close were backing the plans.

And the cathedral also "recognises that the market will also deliver significant tourism benefits", it said.

"There is recognition amongst local businesses via Salisbury BID that there will be a significant potential benefit to them through the market drawing additional visitors in to the area. Residents in the area will be briefed on an ongoing basis on aspects of market operation."

The temporary stalls would have no negative impact on the cathedral close, cathedral or neighbouring historical buildings, the BID said.

Food and drink will not be on sale in the close, and visitors in cars will be encouraged to use park and ride.

Background music and entertainment "to add ambience and atmosphere" will "fully respect the Cathedral as a place of worship" and minimise any disturbance to residents.

Litter picks will be provided and existing toilets in the close and inside the cathedral will be available.

Trees and lawns will be protected and all evidence of the market will be removed at the end of the event, it added.

View the planning application 18/03096/FUL here.