Today I visited Salisbury.

I have to say that Salisbury on a Monday was buzzing. This seems to be in sharp contrast to the centre of Winchester which seems to have lost its commercial heart.

My wife and I used the Park and Ride bus which for us OAPs was free. We used our bus passes on the P&R bus, with no charge to park. Almost everyone on our bus was an OAP.

Like it or not we OAPs have the time and (hopefully) some cash to spend in the city. The bus was an electric vehicle (EV).

There was even a small machine inside to, presumably, validate some types of bus pass whilst the bus was in motion, reducing the time at bus stops.

We visited the cathedral which cost us each £8.60 (Including Gift Aid). The ticket remains valid for one year. I understand a visit to Winchester cathedral would be in excess of £10.

Meanwhile the shops were buzzing with plenty of people around. There also seemed to be a smaller proportion of empty shops in Salisbury compared to Winchester.

May I suggest Winchester City Council adopts a similar scheme with respect to its P&R? In Bishop’s Waltham you can park for one hour free (in the newly opened Jubilee Hall car park I think it is 2 hours free!), so Bishop’s Waltham is buzzing too.

Free parking does make a difference to the footfall in town centres.

Are there any plans to introduce EV buses in Winchester?

It did make me wonder how long the Silver Hill development has been in its planning/approval stage. Is it 20 years – or am I mistaken?

Martin Letts

Waltham Chase