Salisbury and Amesbury into 'recovery' after nerve agent incidents

Queen Elizabeth Gardens (Faye)

Published by Faye Tryhorn at 6:03am 15th August 2018. (Updated at 9:48am 15th August 2018)

The Chair of the Group that's leading the push to get our area 'back to normal' says marketing South Wiltshire is now key.

After five months of disruption in Salisbury and Amesbury following the nerve agent poisonings, we're now really into the 'recovery' phase of the incidents.

That's according to those in charge of the process, led by Wiltshire Council.

It was announced yesterday (Tuesday August 14th) that the Mill pub is the latest site to be handed back to its owners after decontamination.

The Mill New Cordon June 2018
The Mill is one of the latest areas to be deep cleaned and decontaminated following the nerve agent poisonings

Alistair Cunningham from the South Wiltshire Recovery Group says we should see more cordons lifted very soon:

"Some of those sites are now through that cleaning process and we're just waiting for release (from Defra) - that's just a process of checking and checking again, to make sure that they're clean. We're actually on the point now where we know that those sites will be in the public domain in the next few days to a week or so and that's more good news for Salisbury."

WHAT'S NEXT?

We're told there'll be more obvious signs of Salisbury and Amesbury's receovery to come very soon.

It's hoped that the decontamination work at the Zizzi restaurant will be finished shortly and Queen Elizabeth Gardens could be re-opened within days.

Zizzi New Cordon June 2018
It's hoped the clean-up operation at Zizzi will be completed very soon

Wiltshire's Police Chief Constable Kier Pritchard says he's keen for us to get back on our feet:

"I think every step we take further towards a return to complete normality is a welcome step for all of us. I think that the community has demonstrated the best resilience that I could have ever asked for and I'm hugely respectful of the way that businesses, partners and the public generally have worked through such an unprecedented and traumatic incident."

The thoughts of those in charge of Salisbury and Amesbury's recovery also comes as Wiltshire's Air Ambulance base is reopening today (Wednesday August 15th), two weeks after it was shut for precautionary measures.

The helicopter is now back in action after being deemed to have no contamination of the nerve agent novichok.

South Wiltshire Recovery Group Chairman, Alistair Cunningham has told Spire FM he believes now's the time to start moving forward.

The Maltings New Cordon June 2018
Barriers remain at some locations in Salisbury and Amesbury while the clean-up continues

But he has pointed out there is still an investigation into who's responsible for the novichok exposures:

"That (investigation) will continue, but for the city centre - you don't want to jinx anything - but we are now marketing Salisbury to the world, because it is a wonderful place. The name and the brand is out there and now it's about attaching the right images; the Cathedral, the watermeadows, the Market Square, the newly refurbished Mill pub in time to come; all those things to that image and get people back into this city centre."

As the recovery continues, we're told the free parking each weekday afternoon and at weekends and Bank Holidays will remain in force in Wiltshire Council run car parks in Salisbury and Amesbury for the forseeable future.

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