THE birds think it’s spring. They’re twittering like billy-o in the park.

The supermarkets think so, too, which is why they’re sprouting Easter eggs galore.

Meanwhile in the Market Place, it’s Christmas until March, with the twinkly lights staying on to give us all a warm, fuzzy feeling.

Which is a nice idea from new city council leader Jeremy Nettle. Because amid all this seasonal confusion there’s still plenty of cold, hard reality awaiting us out there.

I speak not of Brexit (please, no more!) but of our city’s economic future, and in particular of the Maltings/central car park.

Let’s face it, the old British Heart Foundation furniture shop (who remembers C&A?) is not a thing of beauty.

It won’t be missed when the £15million redevelopment proposed by Janus Henderson gets under way.

And let’s look at the plans.

Nothing wrong with a Travelodge. They’re good value in these straitened times. Especially for a city without a youth hostel.

Another gym? Whoopee! What with the one that’s replacing Mothercare on Southampton Road, we’ll have no excuses for being flabby any more.

And another restaurant? Well, why not?

Shame to move the library (the new one will be a lot smaller, and I’m not sure what’s in mind for the Young Gallery) but we knew it had to be done in order to open up the vista through the revamped Market Walk into the new earthly paradise that will be ….. what, precisely?

We’re told that the developers have been “in discussion with Wiltshire Council” for two years now over a “strategic Masterplan” for the whole area. This is just the initial phase.

Whilst officially, this phase is only at the application stage, it’s clearly got the nod from on high, since Baroness Scott says it will “deliver important change in this location and will help bring more visitors to our beautiful city”. Note the use of the words “will” and “our”.

“However,” say the planning documents, “due to poor economic conditions, a guaranteed commitment to delivering the current Masterplan is not possible.”

In other words, after this bit, what next?

All the years (so many years!) of consultations, exhibitions and previous masterplans have boiled down to this.

I do sympathise with the council, because in response to the devastation wrought by the Novichok crisis, Something Needs To Be Seen To Be Done.

You can just imagine the bigwigs saying that round some Trowbridge conference table.

Incidentally, it’s the way everything seems to happen in Britain, nationally and locally, these days. Government by crisis management.

Meanwhile neighbourhood planning, involving the city’s parish council and the public, is proceeding at a snail’s pace.

I’d like to suggest that Jeremy grasps this particular nettle and organises a meeting for us to be updated on that nebulous Masterplan, so that everyone can have their say before we’re presented with another fait accompli.

n I see that the railway pension fund is applying to turn BHS and a chunk of the New Street car park into a shop/hotel combo. At the risk of sounding like general election star Brenda from Bristol: “Not another one?!!”