The Salisbury Journal published my previous letter about Churchfields where I suggested that any legitimate plans for development in the city needs to address this fundamental issue. 

The real problem is that currently all of our planning decisions are being treated in isolation and there is no holistic view of the city's future. If Churchfields is considered independently, then the likely high costs of remediating any contamination will mean that the site, on its own, will not be commercially viable for development. As a result, the work will not get done, and the problem remains. 

The answer is to take a more strategic approach, which takes account of the needs of Salisbury as a whole and Churchfields is not treated in isolation. To address this I propose the adoption of a ‘Churchfields remediation fund’. 

Currently, when seeking approval for new developments, developers already need to make a contribution to infrastructure such as roads, schooling, medical facilities etc.

My suggestion is to extend that principle. Where approval is sought for any significant housing development, across the whole of Salisbury, a proportionate contribution will be required from the developers to the ‘Churchfields remediation fund’.

For example, if approval is given for 350 new houses at Old Sarum, (which I hope they are not incidentally) then the developers will be required to make a contribution to the fund. All new developments will contribute to the costs of decontamination, so the costs are effectively shared and the development of Churchfields becomes viable, which it would not have been if it was just considered on its own merits. 

If we adopt this approach then we will have a more structured and strategic view of the long-term housing needs of the city as a whole. One that still supports the needs of developers, but also finally provides a solution to the lingering sore that is the Churchfields site.

I do hope that WCC will consider such a scheme.

Andy Campbell

Folkestone Road, Salisbury

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