The purchase of an area of woodland in Harnham is being considered by Salisbury City Council but only for an offer of £1.

The potential acquisition of land at Harnham Hill, which is also known as Harnham slope, was discussed during a meeting of Salisbury City Council on Monday, June 27.

The cost of the purchase of the land, the meeting heard, had not yet been established from the landowners but the sum needed to bring it up to council standards was estimated between £40,000 and £50,000.

Councillors were told the land was in “poor order” and there was “significant” ash dieback as well as “poorly maintained” fencing.

Ward councillor Annie Riddle felt it was a “liability” as the woodland was in a “dreadful state of repair” adding: “Whilst in theory one might think that it is desirable to bring the whole of Harnham Hill/Slope under one control. I don’t think it is necessary. I don’t think anybody is going to build on it and I can’t see anybody making any other effective use of it.”

“We’ve got plenty more pressing things to spend money on,” said Cllr Riddle.

While Cllr Brian Dalton didn’t want the idea to be “killed off” and “favoured” the council taking on the land but only for a “peppercorn rent”. He said it would be a “missed opportunity” if the council didn’t make a bid.

Concerns were raised by deputy mayor, Cllr Atiqul Hoque, over taking on liabilities and also questioned the benefit of acquiring the land. Cllr Ian Tomes said he was in “two minds” over it but felt it would be “simpler” if the land were under council ownership for potential projects in the future. Although, he said the offer of £1 was unlikely to be accepted.

The meeting heard there was no money currently in the budget and Cllr Jo King flagged concerns over the £40,000 sum needed to get the land into a better condition.

Cllr Paul Sample said it was his understanding that the land would link up with the country park and was therefore “valuable” to the city. He also said the council could look at getting volunteers involved in improving the woodland.

The council agreed a motion that it wishes to own this land and make an offer of a nominal fee of £1 to acquire it. It also noted the cost of bringing the land to the city council’s standard, and that funding would come from its reserves.


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