IT was extremely unwelcome news to see the decision taken by the Planning Committee of Salisbury City Council last Monday to oppose the application for the new building to house the library. The past 11 months have been a difficult time for our city. With visitor numbers down, it is absolutely critical that we see inward investment to boost our infrastructure and make Salisbury a more attractive place to live in, visit and do business.

It has also been very disappointing to see the local Labour Party and Liberal Democrats trying cynically to whip up public opinion against the proposals. I thought they liked to self-style as parties that support the arts and young people!

By opposing the plans for the building to temporarily house the library, the city council has sent out a negative message to businesses which are interested in investing in the Maltings redevelopment, the future cultural quarter, and Salisbury more widely. This decision does not reflect the ambition of my constituents - the quiet majority of people who do not sign petitions, write to newspapers or attend council meetings, but want to live in a city which embraces change and is fit for the 21st century.

I appreciate that Wiltshire Council does not get everything right, but we have to escape from this sterile Salisbury v Wiltshire debate. Too many people seem happier giving Trowbridge a black eye and refighting old battles than welcoming millions of pounds of inward investment.

Dr Mark McClelland

Salisbury City Councillor

St Francis and Stratford ward