YOU find me feeling sad this week. Why so?

Because an issue of vital importance to Salisbury’s future has been decided, as per usual, on party political lines, and though I’m oh-so-used to that happening, somehow I never give up hope that things will improve.

The issue in question is the redevelopment of the old British Heart Foundation shop in Fisherton Street to provide a long-term ‘temporary’ home for our library underneath a Travelodge.

Getting a move on with this project is apparently essential to the whole Maltings and central car park regeneration, though there’s no actual telling when the rest of it will chug into life. (‘Market forces’ will be the official mantra.)

Wiltshire Council’s strategic planning committee is honouring us with a visit on Wednesday (City Hall, 10.30am) to approve the latest version of this building.

Well, you don’t seriously think they’ll turn it down, do you?

Not when it’s Wiltshire’s baby in the first place and they’re desperate to hang on to the £6million the government’s given them to help get the city up and running again. If they don’t get on and build, they’ll have to give the loot back.

Same old, same old short-termism at national and local level for electoral gain. That’s how we get so many bad decisions made in Britain.

So anyway, I won’t be able to attend what promises to be a mind-numbingly predictable occasion because I’ll be out of town. I did, however, get to its equally predictable curtain-raiser, the city council’s planning committee on Monday.

After a presentation by Wiltshire’s head of major projects and another by the architect, the Tories all voted to support the scheme and the Labour members all voted against.

Most of the meeting consisted of Conservatives with pound signs in their eyes saying: “If we don’t grab this opportunity, we might never get another one.”

And their heavily-outnumbered opposition saying: “Hang on a minute, we have a 40ft rule designed to protect our ancient city roofscape and Cathedral views. If we let these guys break it, we set a precedent, and every developer in creation will feel entitled to do the same.”

I didn’t hear much real interest in the design of a building which will fill an important space in our city centre for decades to come. Tweaked to take account of previous public criticism, it struck me as functional, inoffensive, not particularly distinguished (the architect said he didn’t want to design something that stood out, so I guess that’s alright then) but, as Labour member Ian Tomes complained, it offered “nothing unique to Salisbury”.

I expect we’ll all get used to it, anyway.

Something I’m already too used to is seeing councillors from each party voting en bloc. I’ve never seen a single Conservative councillor in Salisbury vote in a different way to his or her party colleagues. The same goes for Labour. No room for principled dissent.

The day that changes might be the day I regain some belief in our system and some hope for our increasingly polarised society.