CITY councillors were locked in heated debate over whether to support completely revised plans for the first phase of the redevelopment of the Maltings.

While some praised the fresh designs for the former British Heart Foundation site, others labelled it “bog standard” and “nothing special”.

But, Salisbury City Council’s planning committee on Monday evening did agree it was an improvement on the “bland” designs which were rejected last month by Wiltshire Council.

Salisbury Journal:

As reported, changes for the site of 30-36 Fisherton Street were unveiled last week by developer Haskoll.

They include more vertical facades, a brand new look, redesigned layout, as well as better signage and lighting.

The architects say their aim is “to create a fresh contemporary building that points the way forward for Salisbury”.

A two-storey civic-style atrium to the library entrance, and a new café space and public plaza are also included in the plans, as well as the originally proposed 86-room hotel.

Nevertheless, despite praise from some councillors, Labour member Ian Tomes remained unimpressed.

Speaking in The Guildhall, he said: “We can see there has been some improvements to some aspects of the plan, but on their third attempt, it should be there anyway.

“However, there are some aspects which are not right with it.

“It is big, bulky, and oppressive; It’s nothing special; It’s bog standard.

“I cannot accept that for Salisbury.”

However, this was not a view shared by every councillor, and members voted to support the scheme five votes to three.

This came after after a motion was tabled to defer a vote to support the plans until September, due to a lack of reports from Wiltshire Council officers.

But this was also quashed by the same majority, and the meeting proceeded as planned.

Before the vote, chair of the committee Councillor John Farquhar said: “When I first saw this [revised] application, my immediate response was ‘wow’.

“I was very pleasantly surprised that the developer had taken on board so many of the previous critical comments.

“Now it’s never going to be perfect, but we are in the position of doing the best we can with what we have.”

Fellow Tory councillor Amanda Foster added: “I really do like it.”

However, she did take exception to Haskoll director Ian Williams’ comments to “celebrate” the cultural quarter in a “modern and funky” way.

She added: “This [funky] wording is the only bit of the plan which concerns me.

“We are not Trowbridge, we’re Salisbury, and we are quite proud of that.”

Speaking about the new plans last week, Wiltshire councillor Pauline Church, South Wiltshire recovery chief, said: “The previous application was refused on design grounds, and I am pleased the developers have responded positively to this and worked proactively with us by completely redesigning the scheme, including removing a storey to reduce the impact on the United Reformed Church.

“The Strategic Planning Committee will now consider the new designs and whether this important first phase of the Maltings and Central Car Park regeneration can proceed.”

This proposed development forms phase one of the Wiltshire Council’s wider vision for the Maltings and Central Car Park regeneration project.

To comment on the full application, visit: with application number 19/07427/FUL.

Views are sought until September 5.