Maltings to be reopened by weekend

Salisbury Spy Investigation Maltings Bench being removed March 2018

10:04am 22nd May 2018
(Updated 3:18pm 22nd May 2018)

"We're looking at a few days work...and hopefully have the site open by the weekend."

Wiltshire Council have now put a timeline on when they would now like the Maltings to be reopened.

Yesterday (21st May), Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) announced the decontamination work at the Maltings site had finished.

A Defra spokesperson said:

"Following extensive clean-up operations in Salisbury to remove any potential residual contamination resulting from the nerve agent attack on 4 March, decontamination work is now complete at the Maltings.

The site will now be handed back to Wiltshire Council, who will decide when it is appropriate to release it back into public use."

Sergei and Yulia Skripal were found collapsed on a bench at the shopping area after being poisoned with Novichok on March 4th.

It's been over 11 weeks since the Maltings had been cordoned off to the public.

Today (Tuesday 22nd May) Alistair Cunningham, chair of the Salisbury Recovery Coordinating Group, announced that Wiltshire Council will try to have the site reopened by the Bank Holiday weekend. 

He's also reassured us that there is absolutely no risk to public health:

The decontamination process has taken around 6 weeks, but was scheduled to take up to 8.

WHAT'S NEXT?

Wiltshire Council and the Maltings management are getting on site already to start the process to get the shops re-opened and the cordons taken away.

A tarpaulin covers the area where the bench once stood and was removed for forensic testing.

Brickwork will be re-laid where paving stones were pulled up and cleaned and turf replanted in the area too. 

Grass around the site will be mowed, some repainting done and general cleaning to get the site ready for use again. 

Maltings Decontamination Ending May 2018

Staff from the stores affected by the closure will be allowed back on site to restock and prepare for opening as soon as possible.

NO BENCH REPLACEMENT: 

Wiltshire Council's also confirmed that there won't be a new bench put in place on the site where the Skripals were found unwell in early March.

Both of them have now recovered enough to have been discharged from hospital.

The criminal investigation is still continuing into how the pair came to be poisoning, along with Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey from Wiltshire Police, who's thought to have come into contact with the nerve agent at Sergei Skripal's home.

A cordon remains in place at that site on Christie Miller Road.

The Mill pub and Zizzi restaurant, where the Skripals visited on the day they were found poisoned, are still being decontaminated. 

We're told that's a more complex process due to the nature of the buildings.

Work is also still ongoing to clean up the Bourne Hill police station, as well as Salisbury and Amesbury ambulance stations.

MALTINGS REACTION: 

A statement's been released by the shopping area:

"Our primary concern over recent weeks has been supporting our tenants, both inside and outside of the cordon, in what has been an unprecedented situation. We thank the public for their

understanding and for their continued support of our retailers at the Maltings.

 

 

 

 

“Over the coming weeks and months, we will be working with not only our own retailers but also other city stakeholders to help promote Salisbury, ensuring the strong local and visitor economy continues to thrive. We encourage local people and visitors alike to come into the city centre and support the events programme and the wide range of businesses, including many locally owned independents.”

'BRINGING VIBRANCY BACK':

Salisbury BID say the announcement that the Maltings is re-opening is 'fantastic news' and they're 'working to bring shoppers back'.

A number of pop-up chalets have been brought in along the riverside, which are available for traders.

Chalets Maltings May 2018

The chalets are the ones that have been used for the Christmas Markets over the last few years.

BID City Rangers have also been 'sprucing up' the area with things like hanging baskets and bunting.

Robin McGowan, BID Chief Executive, said:

“The reopening of The Maltings is fantastic news for Salisbury and a giant step forward in helping our city regain momentum after the incident.

“We will be working closely with the businesses which have been shut to help them in any way we can."

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