THE MP for Salisbury has stated his support for the People Friendly scheme’s complimentary measures, “regardless of the fact the ETRO and LTZ have been suspended”.
John Glen has written to the leader of Wiltshire Council, Philip Whitehead and the CEO of the Swindon & Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (SWLEP), Paddy Bradley, to “strongly urge” them to continue the funding.
He says the status of the £1.3m funding has been subject to “much public debate and media interest”, culminating in Monday’s extraordinary full city council meeting.
He adds that a number of statements have “somewhat confused constituents” as to the status of the funding.
The letter says: “I do not believe that the almost £800,000 of complementary measures that the SWLEP was funding should be called automatically into question by the suspension of the ETRO.
“Neither should the bulk of the complementary measures due to be funded from Wiltshire Council. These proposals, perhaps with the exception of the parklets and making the bus gates permanent, are not in any way technically dependent on the ETRO being in place.
“Indeed, given that the complementary measures are more permanent investments than the LTZ scheme which was only experimental and time-limited, the former could never be said to be contingent on the latter.”
Mr Glen says that the “long list” of complementary measures in the Full Business Case prepared by Atkins would be “significant improvements to Salisbury’s public realm, enhancing the experience for both local residents and visitors alike”.
He adds that it would be difficult for his constituents to understand why the refurbishment of Culver Street car park, an eCycle scheme, shopmobility changes, improvements to walking routes, enhancing bus stops, and additional cycling parking should be dependent on the ETRO being in place.
He said: “I understand that although there was a very close vote on the ETRO/LTZ at the extraordinary SCC meeting on Monday, nearly all councillors gave their full support to the Central Area Framework and its People Friendly Streets recommendations.
“I would like to see us revisit this next year and develop a version of People Friendly Streets that is both faithful to the Central Area Framework and commands wider public support than what was implemented in October. We should be able to put the bitterness and division of the past few months behind us and build a broad, multi-party consensus, listening to all corners of the community.”
‘If the will is there, flexibility can be found’
The letter concluded: “Rolling out the complementary measures early next year would be an excellent precursor to People Friendly Streets 2.0 later in 2021.
“I therefore strongly urge the board of the SWLEP and Wiltshire Council to continue funding these specific items. I appreciate this will require some formal changes to proposals and new recommendations to be drawn up, but if the will is there, I would like to think the necessary flexibility can be found.
“Over several years, we can all reflect on how there has been a need to find creative ways to solve some of the different challenges we have been presented with.
“I have always appreciated the flexibility and constructive approach that the SWLEP and Wiltshire Council have adopted and I trust this mindset will be used to resolve these current matters”.