THE City council has voted to oppose calling for a bypass or relief road for Salisbury.

In a full council meeting last night (March 8), Salisbury City Council also voted to oppose a housing development on the field between East Harnham and Britford - but did not oppose the further extension of Rowbarrow on the opposite side of the road.

A big part of the debate at the meeting was concerning the city council's response to Wiltshire Council's Local Plan Review - specifically, whether or not it should ask Wiltshire Council to safeguard land that could be used for a future bypass route.

It comes after Britford Parish Council criticised the impact hundreds of new dwellings could have on the village’s identity, as well as raising concerns about flooding and ecological damage risks.

Wiltshire Council’s Local Plan Review has identified two separate spots - Site 6, between Salisbury and Britford north of Downton Road, and Site 7 to the south of Downton Road behind Britford park and ride - as potential areas for development in future.

The A338 at the Britford Park and Ride

The A338 at the Britford Park and Ride

'Disastrous and expensive'

Cllrs and members of the public alike will be looking forward to the day meetings can be held in public again, after constant interruptions because of technical difficulties during Monday night's (March 8) meeting.

There were warnings from councillors that a bypass would only lead to further development, and that it would "disastrous" for Harnham.

A member of the public who spoke at the meeting also said it would be "disastrous and expensive".

Talking about the city's traffic issues, Cllr John Lindley said during the meeting that "we are dealing with 80 years of mistakes", the primary one, in his view, being building Churchill Way.

Accident on the A36 Churchill Way East in Salisbury DC8972P6 Picture by Tom Gregory.

The A36 Churchill Way East in Salisbury DC8972P6 Picture by Tom Gregory.

Before further consideration is given to a bypass, some councillors called for other options to be explored in greater detail, such as widening the A36 on Southampton Road.

'We will not give up this fight'

Cllr Dr Mark McClelland, who represents St Francis and Stratford, said on Twitter that he was "delighted" that the council reiterated "the need to tackle congestion problems on Salisbury's roads".

He added: "It's not acceptable to keep adding housing developments to the city without investing in new roads to remove through traffic."

However he was disappointed the council overall voted against trying to set aside land for a bypass.

Cllr McClelland added: "It was extremely disappointing that 13 city councillors (including every Labour and Liberal Democrat representative) voted to oppose calling for a bypass or relief road for Salisbury.

"We will not be giving up this fight though."

He also said during the meeting that support for a solution to Salisbury's congestion problems has come from a wide variety of stakeholders, not just a "lunatic fringe".

What is the Wiltshire Local Plan?

The Local Plan review will set out a vision for the future of Wiltshire for the period to 2036 and a framework for addressing housing needs and other economic, social and environmental priorities.

The Local Plan will be the basis against which planning applications are determined and neighbourhood plans developed.

It is a legally required document containing planning policies and site allocations to deliver the numbers of new homes the Government says Wiltshire must provide in the coming years.

Drawn up by the local planning authority in consultation with the community, the Local Plan provides a platform for local people to shape their future surroundings.

Although it has identified two sites in Britford for development - prompting scores of Journal readers to get in touch with their views - there are no actual plans for housing developments at these sites yet.

However if the sites were agreed as suitable for building new homes in the Local Plan, construction at those locations would become much more likely in future.

The current Local Plan is known as the Wiltshire Core Strategy.

The Government requires every Local Plan to be reviewed at least once every five years.

The Core Strategy was adopted in 2015 and is therefore being reviewed.

For more information on the Wiltshire Local Plan Review, click here.

Get more Salisbury news and nominate your local heroes for the South Wiltshire Hero Awards.

You can also like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter and Instagram to stay up to date.

If you want online news with fewer ads, unlimited access and reader rewards - plus a chance to support our local journalism - find out more about registering or a digital subscription.

Email with your comments, pictures, letters and news stories.