THE regeneration of The Maltings has been delayed by a year as a result of ‘significant uncertainties’, Wiltshire Council has confirmed.

Almost £30million-worth of funding for the project has been deferred, which includes the cash to deliver the new library and the regeneration of the Market Walk and Central Car Park.

The decision was confirmed at the most recent Wiltshire Council cabinet meeting, with the scheme’s £33.1million budget reduced to just £5.83million.

Councillor Philip Whitehead, leader of Wiltshire Council, said: “Wiltshire Council had been negotiating with the developer of this site on a deal that would have delivered a new library in the ground floor of their scheme.

“However, as a result of the on-going economic situation and the significant uncertainties that this creates, the transaction on the terms agreed cannot proceed at this moment.”

He added: “The funding to deliver the new library was due to come from a Local Growth Fund grant the council had secured from government via the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership. Officers are now working closely with the LEP to reassign the funding it has secured to support essential infrastructure provision within The Maltings, including flood attenuation works, that will enable the delivery of the council’s wider regeneration goals for this site and protect future development in the city centre.”

“The regeneration of Market Walk, where the current library is located, was possible by temporarily relocating the library to the Fisherton Street site.”

Cllr Whitehead added: “This is still the option being pursued but if that proves no longer workable, the council will pursue other potential locations in line with its wider regeneration ambitions for The Maltings area.”

A statement from Wiltshire Council confirmed that the funding “has not been reduced”, instead it has “been deferred” until an “agreed purchase price has been achieved”.

The council spokesperson added:“The remaining capital allocation of over £5m reflects investment in the flood mitigation works which are required independently of the regeneration proposals.”

In response to the news, leader of Salisbury City Council Jeremy Nettle said: “Yes, I am very disappointed but totally understand that all the partners in this ‘grand design” need to take stock given this global pandemic and unprecedented three months that we have all endured with Covid-19.

“I am sure it is not as simple as the contractors restarting where they left off.

“My hope is that we can start moving forward with The Maltings development in other areas while The Maltings/Market Walk regeneration is put on hold - such as creating the green spine, along the river Avon.”

The mayor of Salisbury, Councillor John Walsh said: “I was disappointed to hear that the plan to build the new library has been delayed.

“While the plan had its critics, it had been scrutinised very heavily which had led to a much more acceptable scheme both inside and outside.”