CONSTRUCTION on a project to reduce flood risk, improve biodiversity and green space in Salisbury is expected to start in the new year.

The River Park project is a partnership scheme between the Environment Agency and Wiltshire Council.

The first phase of the scheme was granted planning permission by the council on November 15.

Councillor Nick Botterill, the cabinet member for development control, strategic planning and climate change at Wiltshire Council, said: “The Salisbury River Park scheme is at the heart of the Salisbury Central Area Framework which helps shape the future of the city centre and enable it to respond to challenges such as climate change and flood risk.

“This first phase will provide critical flood prevention measures and environmental improvements in Salisbury’s central car park, the Ashley Road Open Space and Fisherton Recreation Ground.

“It forms part of a wider £23 million investment that will also see new habitat and a variety of amenity improvements that will help biodiversity to thrive and people to be able to connect with the environment.”

The project has been partly funded by the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership, National Highways and supported by Salisbury City Council.

The council says it will deliver essential flood defences reducing the risk of flooding to 350 properties along with new habitat space for wildlife and green space for people to enjoy.

Councillor Dr Mark McClelland, the cabinet member for transport, waste, street scene and flooding at Wiltshire Council, added: “This scheme also has a significant transport element to it too including a new bridge over the River Avon, enhanced and new pedestrian and cycle routes, improvements to pedestrian and cycle infrastructure and changes to the coach park.

"These improvements will provide residents and visitors with access to new green spaces and enable them to spend more quality and enjoyable time in the area.”

Construction on the first phase will begin early in 2022 and will last for around two years.

Andy Wallis, Environment Agency Project Manager said: “This is fantastic news for such an important project for Salisbury. This is a key milestone for the project, and we look forward to getting started on the construction work in the new year.”

The River Park scheme covers land at Ashley Road open space and Fisherton Recreation Ground and land in the Maltings and Central car park area and aims to provide landscape, biodiversity and amenity improvements along with flood risk management measures.

These measures will include flood defence embankments and walls, flood control measures, new bridges, culverts and river channel modifications to improve flood protection.

It will also improve green space for recreational use as well as habitat creation, improved fish passage, and enhanced and new pedestrian and cycle routes.

Planning documents submitted with the application state that the "vision" is to "connect and enhance the linear riverside route from the Ashley Road open space towards Elizabeth Gardens, north to south through the centre of Salisbury along the margins of the River Avon".

It also adds: "The River Park will enhance the setting and quality of the river while delivering essential flood risk mitigation to protect existing and future residents and businesses, building resilience to the effects of climate change."

The Salisbury River Park Masterplan sets out the development of the project in six phases.



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