View from the constituency by John Glen Mp
I heard the news that the latest ‘poisoning’ incident at Prezzo in Salisbury may have been a hoax, with a mixture of relief and anger.
Quite apart from costing our hard-working police, ambulance technicians an medics time and money, false alarms also imperil Salisbury’s fragile recovery.
I often reflect on the importance of small businesses asthe lifeblood of the economy. Salisbury is particularly fortunate to have a large number of small, unique and family-run businesses operating within its retail sector.
The independents are part of what sets Salisbury apart from other shopping destinations and are a precious part of our retail scene. But they do not have the resilience of a national chain, and incidents which affect the confidence of would-be visitors hit them disproportionately hard.
Using nerve agents on the streets of Europe is a grim matter – and the emergency services have to take all reports seriously – but people’s businesses and livelihoods are not a game either.
While, of course, I am relieved that it seems no-one was hurt or placed in danger during the closure of Prezzo, should the police investigation reveal that this was a cynical and deliberate attempt to generate publicity, I would expect the individuals involved to face the full force of the law.
It was a huge boost to hear the South Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership has approved funding to move forward with the long-planned redevelopment of the Maltings.
I see this as a wonderful addition to the recovery effort, as well as a chance to improve and re-brand a location now bound up in the public consciousness with the appalling events of March 4.
The challenge is to use this opportunity to not just refresh that part of the city but also to add some key missing ingredients to Salisbury’s leisure and retail offer, and to improve the ‘run through’ from the Market Square to the Maltings, and on into Fisherton Street, revitalising and encouraging footfall throughout the city centre.