Blogs > John Glen Salisbury MP Diary > 12th February 2020

12th February 2020

12th February 2020

I was delighted to hear the Prime Minister announce this week that Wiltshire Council has secured funding for three crucial road improvements – the Harnham Gyratory, Exeter Street roundabout and Park Wall junction.

These are significant pinch points south of the city and plans to improve them have long been enshrined in Wiltshire’s Transport Strategy and have been the focus of sustained effort.

I could not be more delighted that the lobbying has paid off and the government has agreed to spend up to £20m to fund a full package of improvements.

It is also timely, given the council’s decision to greenlight the new homes on Netherhampton Road.

I know the decision came as a disappointment to many people but big planning decisions seldom come out of the blue.

The site was allocated for housing a long time ago. It was only a matter of time before it attracted a planning application from an interested developer.

The majority of the recent objections centred on the strain on surrounding roads.

I have long been concerned that new homes are built with all the necessary infrastructure for thriving communities - not only roads but schools, GP surgeries and telecommunications to name just a few priorities.

This funding announcement is a hugely reassuring and welcome step in the right direction.

Of course, happy and healthy communities also need clean air and green infrastructure to ensure quality of life.

These were among the demands of the Extinction Rebellion ‘street swarm that deliberately obstructed city centre traffic the other week.

I have again offered to meet protesters and look forward to hearing about their specific proposals but chief among them seem to be more green spaces, better walking and cycling opportunities and a reduction in traffic in the city centre.

I hope, therefore, that the protesters are glad to know that many of these things are already in the pipeline.

For example, I hope some among them responded positively to Wiltshire Council’s consultation on The Maltings plan, which includes a new riverside park. This will form a green spine through Salisbury, making it possible to walk or cycle from Old Sarum to The Cathedral without crossing a road.

And I will be encouraging protesters who have not already done so to engage constructively with city councillors, who have long been arguing for partial pedestrianisation of the city centre.

I am all for mass participation in changing the city for the better but I sincerely hope none of the XR members who were out delaying road users (including the buses in our new electric fleet) are labouring under the false impression that nothing is being done or that no one in authority shares their concerns.

Posted by John Glen at 8:09am

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