Now that re-development of Salisbury’s Maltings and Central Car Park is again under review, is it time to look at a sensible plan that emerged years ago?  

That would be a modern transport interchange, for this tourist magnet and overgrown market town. 

Whatever might be thought about the desirability of motor cars, plentiful and cheap parking is THE key to keeping visitors and shoppers coming.

With our compact mix of tourist attractions and shops, it’s no surprise that visitors want to stay for several hours. 

Price makes a difference - Southampton Road shops are used less when city parking is affordable/free. 

Luckily, the area close to the medieval street plan is open for development and can contribute to solving a city-wide problem.  

With direct links to the ring road it can reduce traffic in crowded streets, and still maintain personal access to the increasingly pedestrianised shopping and tourist centre. 

Imagine: A new all weather bus and coach station, park and ride drop-off, plus tourist information office, taxi rank, disabled shop-mobility hire, cafe, cycle spaces, free toilets open 24 hours and bank holidays, 24-hour medical health centre, Post Office, and so on.  

You know the list.  

Add a three storey car park for shoppers and tourists, subsidised (free?) by business taxes on account of the facility, and with electric charging points.  

The financial benefits are real and won’t show on any identifiable balance sheet, but that’s no reason to ignore community improvements.

It may be asking too much to move the railway station here - although it is certainly possible - but a connection could still be made to the station via platform six for a tram shuttle.  

Long distance travel and changing train/bus in Salisbury will be much easier if the major services are co-located in a shared hub.  

There’s not room at the existing railway station to do all this, and The Maltings is more central.

There are jammed narrow streets, crazy bus services since closing the previous bus station, coach drop-off inconvenience, too many shops closing (don’t need many more).  

This is a rare opportunity to fix most of this. 

A fully integrated transport interchange in a corner of the planned greener Maltings would transform Salisbury’s future.  

By all means include youth hostel and hotel accommodation along with residential flats above shops, but do keep Sainsbury’s and the library as is. 

It remains to be seen whether enhancements around the railway station through the Future High Streets Fund programme achieves its partial aims for transport.  

Wiltshire Council owns the Maltings freehold and seems content to invite in property developers who have their own agendas. It would be good if they can give a view in these pages.

Stuart Fyfe

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