“Rushed”, “misguided” and “a waste of time” are just some of the ways locals have reacted to Wiltshire Council ‘s plans to pedestrianise the centre of Salisbury, despite a lot of other residents applauding it as “fantastic news”.

In plans revealed to the Journal last week, Salisbury city centre is set to be cut off to all through traffic from September, as Wiltshire Council looks to introduce ‘People Friendly Streets’ to the city.

However, hundreds of city residents - as well city MP John Glen, have now given their views on the plans.

Mr Glen said: “Air quality in the city centre has been a persistent theme in my inbox for many years.

“Many car journeys in Salisbury are short – under two miles - and they have a huge impact on emissions as well as public health. I commend Wiltshire Council on capturing the desire of many people to enhance the experience for pedestrians and cyclists in the city centre and being willing to consider bold proposals to bring about a change in the way traffic moves through the city centre.”

He added: “However, in all undertakings on this scale, the devil is in the detail. The plan will only succeed if it finds ways to address significant concerns around business access and the risk of adding to congestion on the ring road – another frequent topic in my inbox.

“Due to Salisbury’s unique geography, we are not blessed with a large number of alternative ways of travelling by car from one side of the city to the other and I have no desire to see a scheme that solves one problem only to create another.

“I discussed the proposals with Highways England this week and I look forward to further developments, as public feedback is taken on board and fed into the process.”

Locals were also out in force to give their opinions on the Journal’s website and social media pages.

One reader said: “I don’t understand 90 per cent of the objections on here.

“Most of the objections centre around not being able to park in the city if it’s pedestrianised. If you look at the plans, you’ll notice that parking won’t be affected.

“Having just looked at the streets that it’ll affect in Wiltshire Council’s plan, I am actually all for this scheme. I also think eventually the people of Salisbury will be. Well done Wiltshire Council. A well thought out plan that will no doubt benefit our city.”

Another added: “A bypass and ring road need to be sorted first, because all they are doing is pushing vehicles outside town to create more chaos.”

Potential issues around the impact on the ring road were also a common concern.

One reader said: “Having a pedestrian friendly city centre sounds like a good idea on the face of it. But if it’s still open to buses, taxis, residents and cars accessing the car parks then it will only reduce the traffic, not remove it completely. Which means that pedestrians will still need to be mindful of the traffic. So where’s the benefit?”

A Journal website user commented: “Fantastic news. Well done Wiltshire Council. A very positive step. I am really looking forward to using our lovely local shops and restaurants with my family (by bike too) without the fear of heavy traffic and pollution. Finally a historical city with a modern approach.”

After the council announced the ‘exciting and ambitious plans’, a reader said on Twitter: “Not sure anyone else would call it that. An exciting and ambitious plan would be to attract new shops, look at ways of reinvigorating the town centre. Wiltshire Council are so misguided.”

The leader of Salisbury City Council, Councillor Jeremy Nettle said: “This is a huge opportunity to trial something very different in the city as the city re-opens after coronavirus.”

“There may well be problems that need to be faced, particularly around the displacement of traffic on to the ring road, and potential ‘rat-runs’. However, I am encouraged that this is an experimental trial that enables tweaks and adjustments, whilst potentially radically improving pedestrianisation and air quality in our beautiful city.

“I firmly believe we need to take advantage of this ‘once-in-a-life time’ opportunity and together make it work for the city. I have to see more details of the scheme, and look forward to having the chance to give feedback and would encourage others to do so too.”