Different view

IN the Journal article entitled ‘City councillors clash over parking charges’ you included a statement made by Cllr Jeremy Nettle which said: “I don’t believe local residents should be funding rural bus services outside the city”. I would like to put forward a rather different point of view.

We Salisbury residents do not live in a bubble. The city lies at the heart of rural south Wiltshire. It is the hub where people from the surrounding villages come to shop, for entertainment and recreation, so contributing to life in the city and the local economy. It will be a sad day when only families with two or even three cars can live in villages, older residents will need to move into the city and young people will depend on parents to drive them to college or to socialise with friends.

There is another side to this which perhaps people are unaware of. A quarter of Salisbury’s residents do not own a car and this rises to a third in St Paul’s ward; figures taken from the 2011 census. This does not mean that a quarter of the population never want the opportunity to explore the beautiful countryside of south Wiltshire and its many picturesque villages. What better way to spend a day out than to travel by bus through the Chalke Valley to Shaftesbury, enjoy walking away from the traffic and air pollution that they have to live with day after day.

Owning and driving a car comes with a price to our health and the environment. Is it not time to consider this when demanding cheap parking and ever more road building?

Pam Rouquette, Harnham

Air solution

HOW depressing that the news and letters pages of the Journal are awash with those who seem to think that cheap car parking and bigger roads will solve everything. There is plenty of evidence to the contrary.

For those who think that Winchester has cracked the issue by being accessible by motorway and with a bypass, this sadly is not the case. Background pollution from the M3 is an acknowledged part of the problem, and there are ongoing air quality issues in Winchester city centre caused by the volume of traffic and the copious parking. Winchester’s plans to get air quality within legal limits include introducing further park & ride and increasing city centre parking charges.

Transport studies have shown that only a third of Salisbury’s traffic is through-traffic, and over half of car journeys are less than five miles. It simply does not make sense to build ever bigger roads when the answer to the problem is not to create more traffic but to give people viable alternatives, and it is these alternatives which need to be funded, rather than increases in road capacity. If money, in its millions, is diverted to new roads it cannot simultaneously be spent on improved train and bus services, on community and shared transport, or on the walking and cycling routes which might all help to solve the problem and enable more people to come into the city without clogging up approach roads and city centre space with more cars.

Margaret Willmot, Salisbury

No defence

THE athletics track lockout could have been easily avoided if Wiltshire Council and South Wilts Grammar school involved the club (the main users of the track outside school hours) in the actual discussions regarding transfer of control to the school. We were not. To compound that oversight, the club were also informed of the fact at short notice. Wiltshire Council is as much to blame for that as the school. But there is no defence to lock out a club of volunteers and juniors, who have used the track for 25 years without problem, who are also covered by their own insurance policy which the school has a copy of. Especially in the winter when it is even harder to find floodlit replacement venues.

Andy Budgell, Salisbury

Sad story

WELL we have heard two sides of this sad story, but can I remind readers that we, the local people of Salisbury, paid for this track through our taxes and council tax. It was built on the South Wilts school fields to enhance the facilities at Five Rivers. At the time South Wilts was given access to the hockey pitches built beyond the leisure centre in return for the loss of their own fields.

Now Wiltshire Council “where everybody matters” has changed the management of this facility. So what are they offering to our young athletes who run for pleasure or fitness, many going on to represent us at county and regional level, to help them get access to a clubhouse and a running track? At present there is only this one track in the Salisbury area that I know of, and to have to resort to training our young people in a car park is just not on.

Barbara White, Salisbury

No answer
ANY police officer will tell you to report a crime, no matter how minor it might be.

For over three years I have been raising residents’ concerns that calls to the Wiltshire Police 101 number are going unanswered. This has always been met with a level of knowledge that there are issues with the 101 service, but until now there have never been figures for abandoned or missed calls.
With around 100 calls going unanswered every day, it is easy to recognise that a significant number of crimes are now going unreported.
Confidence in reporting minor issues is at such a low ebb that useful intelligence is being lost to an ineffective reporting system. As my residents have told me many times, they have witnessed something and they have tried to report it, but the 101 service has let them down.
With our massively overstretched police force, we now know that not all crime is being reacted to. Whilst I imagine all serious crime is reported, it has nonetheless increased slightly year on year. Perhaps it should be kept in mind that the more a criminal gets away with, the further they will push their luck.

Tom Corbin,
Labour councillor for Bemerton

Maltings plan

I ATTENDED a meeting, hosted by the Salisbury Civic Society to hear the current ideas for the redevelopment of our city’s Maltings and Central car park area. It was obvious from the start of the presentation that the development architects have studied Salisbury, its layout and ancient buildings, quite intensively, to find ways to link the present central market area to the proposed redevelopment. They have also attempted to link main approaches to the new area and our ancient heritage.
I must congratulate them on the proposed design which would seem to be sympathetic to our city and, hopefully its future needs. It will also remove the desolated area that is the Central car park - an eyesore to residents and visitors alike. Car parking would remain, short and medium duration only, but will be incorporated into the commercial, leisure and residential areas. The library would be relocated (possibly Fisherton Street) and the three existing arches which face Blue Boar Row would lead into a wide and open gateway to ‘The Maltings’. Will it still have that name?
Now, I see a downside to all of this! I am sure many readers will be asking the same questions that members of the audience presented to designers. I will mention just two, which would seem to be of over-riding importance.
Firstly, where are the many visiting coaches to go? Bearing in mind there could be more if the redevelopment is successful. Apparently it is thought Britford park and ride, after dropping off visitors in the city. They would then come back to the city to pick up. A coach operator at the meeting had all the statistics. It was rather horrifying! Oh, and what about all extra traffic on that side of the city from proposed housing needs.
The final question of the evening was as to how would all the delivery vehicles reach the site? It was down Fisherton Street from St Paul’s roundabout! The meeting finished at that point. Now we will have to wait to find if the development has a future or remains a fantasy.
Brian Ford,
Bemerton Heath

I FEEL I would be doing a disservice to Dave Amey, my late wife and all the stalwarts of Salisbury Athletics Club if I were not to protest about the decision and the way that Salisbury Athletics Club were treated the other night.
After all the hard work that has gone into the club, bearing in mind it is training Salisbury, Wiltshire and national athletes who have gone before.
This unexpected short-sighted decision does nothing to help South Wilts Grammar School, of which my daughter was head girl and a keen athlete.
Surely the two sides can get together to resolve this situation for the good of all.
A Swienton,

AT LAST the “Secret Spitfire Film” has been shown in Salisbury! Not before time! Thanks to the Odeon cinema – wonderful! The write up said girls, women, boys and a few elderly men working in the factories. 
I would just like to add to that: In August 1940 the Vickers-Armstrong Spitfire factory at Woolston was bombed with a heavy loss of life. Some workers did survive, my father was one of them. He was Bill Wyatt and he and a few others came to Salisbury with their families to carry on working on the Spitfire. All these men were in their early thirties. Our first night in Salisbury was spent sleeping on the Chapter House floor in Salisbury Cathedral – but that’s another story! 
Beryl Robson,

LAST week in the Salisbury Journal the head teacher of South Wilts Grammar School (SWGS) stated her side of the story regarding the shut out of the City of Salisbury Athletics and Running Club from the running track in the school grounds. She stated that the club were allowed to build a hut on land belonging to the school on condition that SWGS and other schools could use it and indicated that the club without warning had reneged over this.
The club have always had responsibility for this hut and have maintained it accordingly.
The “hut” is a small club house with a disabled toilet, a room to store necessary objects such as first aid equipment and drinking water. I have the privilege to be a member of this outstanding club for a number of years and it is my belief that Ms Chilcott’s letter would indicate that SWGS chooses to ignore what goes on beyond the fence which separates the main school building from the sports field.
Since the club built the club house they have supported schools and other organisations such as Avondale (a home for people with special needs) and Exeter House Special School when they have put on events on the track.
When the Youth Games, a Wiltshire Council/schools project aimed at getting more children into sport came into being, the athletics club was on hand to assist. Over a 10-week period each year for six years the club house was used as a base and personnel from the club gave their time to coach these children outside athletic club hours.
The same goes for “Star Track”, another council-run project that is put on during school holidays.The list of what the athletic club has done to help the community over and above its own activities goes on and on and will continue to do so given a chance. I believe that to say that the athletic club is being unreasonable in what it is trying to achieve is quite unfair.
David Amey,