I WAS delighted to see all the great coverage of Salisbury over the weekend, as we were named The Sunday Times best place to live in the UK.

The citation particularly praised the way the area has come through the events of the last year – sentiments that are hard to disagree with.

It also mentioned some undeniable truths – that Salisbury is beautiful, well situated, rich in history and culture and home to some truly excellent schools.

Yet, while we may be more than happy to take the compliment and bask in the positive publicity, I am not so complacent as to think that Salisbury is as good a place to live as it could be… yet.

We should treasure the gifts that nature and history have given us but never give up working to ensure a successful future by improving the environment, infrastructure, leisure and employment opportunities for our young people.

Our existing parks are another strength but, only last Friday, I was with a large group of educators, employers and community leaders discussing exciting plans to further improve the green infrastructure of the city by linking and enhancing our green spaces and creating safer routes for walkers and cyclists.

In time, it is hoped that it will be possible to walk or cycle from Old Sarum to Salisbury Cathedral without crossing a road.

Many people may be surprised to know that a particularly bold and imaginative proposal to work with the Environment Agency to ‘green’ our riversides, mitigate long term flood risk, improve water quality and protect wildlife is part and parcel of what is envisaged for The Maltings redevelopment.

I for one welcome it wholeheartedly.

The Maltings is a big site with a lot of roles to fulfil for the community, a lot of commercial interests to protect and a lot of stakeholders to bring along – all of which takes time.

I am pleased that a comprehensive consultation has now been launched.

The aspiration is for a cleaner, greener, more attractive and more versatile Maltings that will help keep the city centre vibrant and viable for the businesses that operate here while also updating and expanding our library and cultural facilities to make them more accessible and fit for future generations.

These are worthy aims and I would urge people to look out for the displays and engage with the whole plan before rushing to judgement.