SALISBURY'S Chamber of Commerce has called for the closure for the A360 to be suspended immediately "for the sake of the community". 

In a letter addressed to Wiltshire Council leader Richard Clewer and several cabinet members, the Chamber's Board of Director's said that at this moment in time the people of Salisbury and South Wiltshire are witnessing "the worse road maintenance and management by the administration in living memory".

Read more: REMINDER: Section of A360 to be closed for three months

It added that the Chamber fears highways maintenance has "inevitably suffered significantly" through spending cuts and that the impact of this is "catastrophic for the public and businesses".

The letter adds: "The knock on effect of all the current road works, including the delayed Fisherton Street improvements and now the poorly timed approval of this cable installation at a time when the Stonehenge Tunnel has still yet to overcome legal challenges is not only madness but devastating to the business community and in particular those involved in hospitality and tourism who will suffer badly yet again.

"We have already lost businesses due the impact of Novichok and Covid in recent years. Enough is enough!

"On behalf of the business community the Chamber makes this request to Wiltshire Council today, to delay the program of works for cable laying in the A360 Wilton to Stonehenge until the scheme is finally approved and is carried out at a time when the road use and likely disruption is at an absolute minimum.

"The Board of Directors of Salisbury and District Chamber of Commerce and Industry."

You can read the letter in full below. 

Salisbury Journal: Salisbury Chamber of Commerce's letter to Wiltshire Council in fullSalisbury Chamber of Commerce's letter to Wiltshire Council in full (Image: Salisbury Chamber of Commerce)

In response, Councillor Nick Holder, Wiltshire Council’s cabinet member for highways, street scene and flooding, said that Wiltshire Council is not the decision maker for the A360 scheme. 

It is being led, said cllr Holder, by SSEN on behalf of National Highways, and that: "SSEN has a right to place their apparatus in the highway and the council can only coordinate and condition their works, not prohibit them". 

Salisbury Journal: Cllr Nick HolderCllr Nick Holder (Image: Wiltshire Council)

Cllr Holder added: "The A303 Stonehenge scheme is a major project that requires an electricity supply for the tunnel construction and operation. Any delay in providing this power supply will have a major impact on the construction programme, resulting in significant delays to completion of the overall programme of works, prolonging the adverse impact on the local road networks and pushing up the cost of the project.

“National Highways has looked at several route options for laying the supply cable. The option preferred by Wiltshire Council was to place the cables in the fields. This option was explored in detail by SSEN, but they were unable to agree a route with all the landowners through negotiation in the timescale required. Wiltshire Council is not able to stop SSEN laying the cable along the A360 as planned."

You can read the council's response in full below. 

Salisbury Journal: Cllr Nick Holder's statement in response to Salisbury Chamber of Commerce's letterCllr Nick Holder's statement in response to Salisbury Chamber of Commerce's letter (Image: Wiltshire Council)