THE suspension of the People Friendly Salisbury scheme has been criticised by city councillors across the political spectrum. 

Cllrs Tom Corbin (Labour) and Brian Dalton (Lib Dem) have both backed the scheme in the past, and this week have criticised the way in which its suspension has come about. 

Rick Page, co-ordinator for the Green Party in Salisbury, has also expressed his disappointment. 

The suspension came after MP for Salisbury John Glen and the Salisbury Business Improvement District (BID) both called for the scheme to be halted. 

Salisbury Journal:

Cllr Corbin, who is the Labour representative for Bemerton, has said that "Wiltshire Council wont touch Salisbury with a bargepole for decades" as a result of the decision, adding "and why should they, after this humongous Conservative slap in the face?".

He expressed concerns that possible future investment in road, pedestrianisation & cycling infrastructure will go to places elsewhere in Wiltshire such as Melksham, where they have both a need and a cohesive plan.

He added: "Salisbury City Council does not support this... funny that because the Councillors were not asked, so who authorised this opinion?

"The new leadership had the ideal opportunity just last week on Mondays Full Council meeting. They did not consult, nor debate, nor hold a vote, not even politely telling, just showing a cavalier attitude.

"And yet had they done so they could have shared actual data and taken on ideas such as free car parking from 3pm which the BID had hailed a success after Novichok.

"I now believe we have reached unprecedented levels of political mistrust in Salisbury with a handful of relatively inexperienced Conservative Councillors controlling outcomes whilst simultaneously failing to correctly engage with established processes." 

Salisbury Journal: Brian DaltonBrian Dalton

Cllr Brian Dalton, leader of the Lib Dems, echoed Cllr Corbin's concerns, and reiterated his support for the scheme. 

He said: "The Conservative group needs to get its house in order. There are some of their city councillors hiding behind the Guildhall and ousting their city leader, as they are against the scheme. But it is supported by their county peers and there are some vociferous prospective Tory candidates, scheming with their petition and publicly arguing against cabinet members on social media.

"The Wiltshire leadership needs to deal with this, as they have undermined and brought the scheme down.

I have always favoured pedestrianisation, but you must get the public on your side. Wiltshire has failed this, by not consulting residents.

"Why not? The council can write to people when they change the bin collections. Why not on this? The ETRO route did not provide a long enough consultation period either. Although a longer route, the usual TRO route provides a longer consultation.

"I hope the council can bring this back, but with proper consultation. Without that, it will fail and that has been proved. But the Tories must get their house in order too."

Salisbury Journal: Rick Page, co-ordinator Salisbury Green Party, DC9356P20 Picture by Tom Gregory.Rick Page, co-ordinator Salisbury Green Party, DC9356P20 Picture by Tom Gregory.

Rick Page said the Green Party is "very disappointed" that the initiative has been suspended.

He said: "Even after a month the clear evidence is of less pollution and noise, with streets easier to cross for families and older shoppers in particular, public transport working more efficiently without jammed streets, cyclists encouraged into the centre, whilst residents continue to enjoy full access and all the car parks remain open and accessible as normal.

"There were some teething issues as with any new scheme but these could have been resolved. We believe the majority of people in Salisbury and our many visitors want a city centre like Bath, Cambridge or York and not an extension of the ring road and the A36. Number plate recognition surveys have proven that the vast majority of cars moving through the centre are 'through traffic'. Is that now the limit of our ambition? Offering a rat run for motorists through our historic city?

"The Green Party are prepared to work openly and positively alongside BID and other progressive partners in the future to re-establish a PFS scheme. As Joe Biden said recently ... 'you may be a Republican or a Democrat but we are all Americans'. And we all now need to work together in the best interest of Salisbury."