LAST Friday, I was delighted to attend an event in the Guildhall run by Visit Wiltshire, launching the results of work undertaken on a new competitive brand positioning for Salisbury. I took part in the research project a few months ago, so I was glad to be there to see the results, along with a large number of local businesses and stakeholders who had packed out the Banqueting Hall.

The aim of the exercise has been to boost the number of visitors to Salisbury through better communicating the unique offer of our city. The central themes that emerged from the project have been “Traditional. Original.”, which capture what we are all about – emphasising our heritage and creativity. This latter theme will once again be centre stage this Friday as I meet at the Playhouse with the team developing the new cultural strategy for Salisbury.

Away from the Conservative Party’s national leadership election, it has also been a time of transition for Wiltshire Council. Regular readers of my column will know that I thanked Jane Scott last week for all her many years of service to Wiltshire. The hard work of local government often goes on below the radar and Jane is very deserving of all the praise she is getting on stepping down after 16 years.

On Tuesday, Wiltshire Council elected Councillor Philip Whitehead to be the next leader of the authority. As the Cabinet Member for Finance under Jane Scott, Philip developed in-depth knowledge of the management of local government and the budget process which will stand him in good stead for his new role – I very much look forward to working with him!

In other developments, I was pleased to see Cllr Richard Clewer (Downton and Ebble Valley) promoted to Deputy Leader and Cllr Pauline Church (Wilton and Lower Wylye) take up the critically important Cabinet role with responsibility for Children, Education and Skills. Salisbury and Amesbury also have a new ally round the Cabinet table in Trowbridge, with Cllr Allison Bucknell promoted to the Cabinet and tasked with leading on the South Wiltshire Recovery after last year’s Novichok incident.

I have known Allison since I was very young, and I was glad to see her abilities rewarded. Although she is a northerner (at least within Wiltshire!), She brings much local government experience to the role. I am sure we will be working closely in pushing forward an economic agenda that looks to boost inward investment and footfall in Salisbury and South Wiltshire.