Fit for future?

I RETURNED to Salisbury after 30 years, some 25 years ago now, as a long-term resident having educated three daughters here and become involved in the community. I see a very different place: Monster lorries trundle through its narrow mediaeval streets; rows of soulless shops replace the individual traders; a spawning development fever takes hold, lacking the needed infrastructure to support it.

It is the latter that makes one question - how and if any strategic planning is actually happening? Where are the new surgeries, schools and hospitals needed to support the growing number of housing developments on the edges of the city, not just here but in the adjacent towns of Amesbury and Andover? Where are the new roads needed to divert heavy traffic from intra city transit? Has the returning army from Germany with its increased numbers in Tidworth and Bulford been thought about regarding amongst other aspects the impact of soldiers using Salisbury for recreation? Where are the transport links that support the growing commuter service to London whose trains are expensive and over crowded and its car park full?

It appears that it is easy enough to allow new housing estates but impossible to build the supporting infrastructure. The number of cars entering the city increases with no apparent increase in take up of Park and Ride. Projects like the Maltings development will stop the tourist coaches that bring the tourist business to the city and create more residential housing with no heed to the overstretched resources and the effect on the local economy. How long will our wonderful hospital be able to meet the growing needs of this apparent random expansion?

All these are just a few of the factors that surely should be considered when the overall plan for the future is considered. Is Salisbury fit for the future? Has it sufficient statutory resource and infrastructure to meet its growth? Can it retain its history and provide the services we all expect today? Hopefully someone is actually planning for this.

Nigel Haynes, Lower Bemerton

Happy times

MY sister, who lives in Salisbury, has sent me a copy of an article concerning the Anna Valley Motors (Journal Heritage, December 14). This article does not mention that the garage continued working as a garage during the war. The workshop was at the back of the far left of the building diagram with a parts department in front of it in one of the wings of the building. I started an apprenticeship as a mechanic there on October 9, 1943 when I was 15. I used to look through a ventilation grill and see the ladies making Spitfire parts and on a couple of occasions the mechanic and I would go onto the factory floor so that the mechanic could sort out a problem with the building. We were the only garage people and we were always busy, especially with farming problems.

It was a very pleasant time for me. I enjoyed it, especially the ‘worker’s playtime’ music. I used to go along the road to the cake shop and buy a lardy cake. I believe the shop is still there.

When I was 18 I was called up and I did two-and-a-half years’ national service as a mechanic in the RAF. After training I finished up in southern Rhodesia where I was promoted to the exalted rank of corporal. After demob I returned to Anna Valley Motors to complete my apprenticeship and I finally was given the complete indenture on February 24, 1950. When I worked in the main building there was little evidence of the past Spitfire work, but I did find a drill bit that, if it could talk, would surely have a tale to tell. The length of the drill bit is its unusual feature. It is about 6 inches long with a diameter of about 3/16 in. I still have it and I have used it many times.

Thank you for your article and the diagram of the old building. It brought back many happy memories.

Douglas Lavis

Wake-up call

YOU report on page 18 of this week’s paper (January 4) that council car park profits are down because of a fall in trade in cities and towns. Is it too much to hope that the council might realise that higher charges deter the trade upon which the towns and cities depend and therefore ultimately reduce parking revenue?

You can’t charge more than the market will bear, and to do so not only reduces parking revenue but also strangles local businesses leading to reduced business rate receipts. Wake up to reality, Wiltshire Council, reduce the charges and reinvigorate trade in our towns and cities.

Rod Job, Salisbury

Car wars

IT is (it seems,) the opinion of Wiltshire Councillors that people who live in the city do not need, and should not have cars. This of course saves the council concerning themselves with such mundane matters as parking for city dwellers.

This is excellent news for those lucky enough to live in the city and thought until now they, like Wiltshire councillors, did need a car.

The savings are enormous as the residents parking charges begin to shoot up and in the coming years are likely to double, year on year.

Just thought your readers would like to hear this good news!

Geoff Venner, Salisbury

Ivory tower

NOW would be a good time for our councillors to abandon their ivory towers and start to lead by example, ie: Pay for their parking even when on council business just like the hospital staff have to.

Forgo their massive expense accounts and pay their own way like the rest of us do.

Stop the non-contributory gold-plated pension scheme* which no-one else can afford to offer.

Public service does not need to be so lucrative for the public servant. Come on councillors – ‘All For One’, NOT ‘All For Oneself’.

Jane Martin, Alderbury

* Editor’s note: These pensions do not exist

Fly tipping

WILTSHIRE Council’s spokeswoman says that the cost of fly tipping has reached £2.5 million. Have they factored in the cost to the private landowner who, thanks to council diktat, has to pay to remove rubbish dumped on his ground? What about the cost to the natural habitats and the aesthetic cost?

If the council removed their high charges for ratepayers to take their rubbish to a council run tip, how much revenue would the council lose in comparison to the cost of clearing up illegally dumped rubbish?

Councils have been warned time and time again that extensive fly tipping would be the result of their charges but, yet again, they ignore the voices of reason and experience.

Jane Martin, Alderbury

Goodwill to all

GOODWILL was shown in abundance at the well established community lunch in Wilton on Christmas Day. The room was beautifully decorated and all who attended could enjoy the true spirit of Christmas. Guests and helpers gathered from around the district to spend the day together. For many the alternative would be Christmas Day on their own and no one to provide a lovely meal of turkey and all the trimmings followed by Christmas pudding and other treats.

Wilton Christian Fellowship, who organise the event, would like to thank all who contributed including Journal readers who gave gifts, the trustees and caretaker of Wilton Community Centre who provided their facilities at no cost, Wilton Town Council and individual donors who provided finance, the Brownies and Cubs who made Christmas cards, Burnbake Trust who provided crockery for the meals sent out, local businesses who either donated food or supplied it at discounted prices – Reeve the Baker, Manor Farm Meats and Colin’s fruit and vegetable stall from Wilton Market.

This event depends on volunteers and we are extremely grateful to so many who gave their time to set up, prepare, serve, entertain, cook, provide transport, wash up and clear up.

Marion Powell, Coordinator for Wilton Christian Fellowship

Light relief

LIKE myself, many must have enjoyed the lights around the market square. Curiously those around the trees functioned Christmas and new year while the Guildhall Square lights and those on the Christmas tree were not lit post Christmas.

I do not recall this happening previously and ponder the reason?

Graham Alexander, Harnham

Chief’s thanks

I WILL shortly be coming to the end of my first year as chief executive at Salisbury District Hospital and I have been overwhelmed by the loyalty and support that we receive from local people and the commitment and professionalism of our staff.

Like all hospitals across the country we have been very busy and I want to use this letter to personally thank people for the responsible way in which they have used our services over the festive period and continue to do so into the new year. I also want to publicly thank our staff. We have seen a large number of very sick people who need hospital treatment and they have worked very hard to look after all our patients over this period and throughout the whole of last year.

I know from the positive feedback that we receive that local people appreciate the invaluable contribution that our staff make to local health services. It is their efforts and the loyalty and support of local people that make me proud to be the chief executive at SDH and part of our fantastic local community.

Cara Charles-Barks, Chief executive, Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust