SHOPS and pubs across the country are closing. Towns everywhere are facing the necessity of shorter shopping frontages, by compaction where it can be successfully managed. Major retailers are failing by the half dozen each year.

Salisbury and Wiltshire Councils have been blandished into living in a different era.

The display last Tuesday for The Maltings showed 400,000 square feet (plus) of shopping IN ADDITION to the existing shops with no specified number of parking spaces retained in our largest car park but references to new multi-storey car parks.

This is a fantasy from the 1970s. It is a blueprint for wrecking Salisbury.

The councils’ problem is that the tired appearance of the Maltings is mainly a lack of maintenance by the existing landowners and themselves. They now want the excuse, any excuse, not to have to do the boring, difficult bit of keeping the place smart.

Whether the developer will ultimately complete such a stupid scheme is down to chance, but the effect on the city as it appears and trades now would be ghastly. Large pension funds are often stuck with large funds and nowhere to put them. Presumably this has caused the Canadian Teachers’ fund to stick with this plan. They lash out fees to consultants which tell them what they want to hear.

This would be a horrendous error for us (Northwich made one rather like this).

The only appropriate word is “crackers".

I J Michell