Future of hundreds of Salisbury's young people hangs in balance

Harnham Bunker Life Rocks Before 4 (Ross Sanderson)

Published by The Spire FM News Team at 6:05am 18th January 2016.

Youth leaders believe the city is: "A place where we can show the rest of the country how to do it." They wait for a final decision on using the old Harnham Bunker as a base.

The future of hundreds of young people in Salisbury hangs in the balance today (18th Jan).

A decision will be made whether or not to let a 1950's cold war bunker, that's been disused for decades, be turned into a recording studio and free music school for budding musicians. If a plan by 'The Sound Emporium' gets the final go ahead, it would become the FIRST EVER free, sustainable youth service in the UK.

On Thursday last week (14th Jan) Wiltshire Council unanimously backed the plan, but the Harnham Bunker (off Old Blandford Road) is owned by Salisbury City Council where there's opposition to the idea. There are some concerns about safety, noise and litter.

Ross Sanderson and Kayleigh McCormick from 'The Sound Emporium' believe a YES is the only answer to the bunker plan because Salisbury's vital to the music industry, particularly in light of the recent deaths of huge names in British music like David Bowie:

Kayleigh told Spire FM there's huge potential already being nurtured in local youngsters:

"We've got 3 or 4 potential Bowie's!"

Ross added by saying:

"The talent is unbelievable and without this youth service there is nowhere for them to practice, nowhere for them to develop. With all the great people that we're losing over the past couple of years, we've got Lemmy, we've got Bowie, we've got Jack Bruce, we need to start creating the new ones."

"Britain, and the UK is one of the best exporters of music all over the world, and we need to continue that. Salisbury is a place where we can show the rest of the country how to do it."

Hear more from ROSS & KAYLEIGH here (click play to listen):

harnham bunkerHarnham Bunker is just off the Old Blandford Road

harnham bunker

Disused for decades: £100k is available to transform the wartime bunker


Pressure is on because The Sound Emporium's current base at Hendrix House is being sold. They have to move by March 31st 2016. It's fallen victim to funding cuts on youth services by Wiltshire Council. That's why they have to find a new home. Ross and Kayleigh believe the old bunker at Harnham Hill is the best option because it won't need any taxpayers money. A pot of cash, left by developers of the Rowbarrow Estate, could be used to help bankroll the renovation of the bunker to bring it up to scratch and equip it. That work would cost around £100k.

The snag is convincing Salisbury City Council, which owns the bunker, to let them have it for a peppercorn rent, or hand it over with some other arrangement. Salisbury City Council hold the future of he service in the balance. Scores of youngsters who benefit from the Sound Emporium are expected to turn up to hear the decision at tonight's meeting in Salisbury Guildhall (18th Jan).

Despite the critics, Ross Sanderson has told Spire FM he's remaining optimistic:

"For the sake of an old redundant building that we can refurb, which now has planning permission and is deemed suitable for use, a £100k investment gets us a youth service indefinitely in this city, and saves literally millions of pounds. Also, the bunker will also be worth more money when we're finished."

You can read more about The Sound Emporium's bunker idea here: spirefm.co.uk/news/

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