A large gathering of business leaders at a networking breakfast in Churchfields Industrial Estate discussed the topic of “Connecting Churchfields”.
Minister and Salisbury MP John Glen gave a presentation and Salisbury Chamber of Commerce president Andy Rhind-Tutt took the opportunity to update the business leaders on the work in progress trying to convince Highways England and the Department for Transport to fund wider highways improvements around Salisbury, in particular the A36.
He informed them of a new survey being launched as suggested by the DfT, simply asking a few questions, so that the chamber could gather facts for Wiltshire Council and John Glen MP, to assist with bids for roads infrastructure funding (RIS) Futures. “Without exception, I think every business owner in the room nodded positively at supporting this initiative,” Andy told Valley News.
The survey will automatically create letters of support if requested by the user.
Letters of support are expected from the Somerset Chambers and the Hampshire Chambers.
Salisbury chamber hopes city businesses and those in the Salisbury area will complete the survey and circulate it.
It is expected that, after decades of talk, the much needed Salisbury Bypass could soon be firmly on the horizon, thanks to the Salisbury Chamber and support from its partners Salisbury BID, Wiltshire Council and the City Council.
Andy Rhind-Tutt, Chamber President and former highways engineer, has presented Highways England and the Department for Transport with an impact assessment of the local road infrastructure on local businesses and potential visitors, pointing out that Salisbury was the only city in the country with a major trunk road passing through it.
In his detailed presentation, he explained that a large percentage of the heavy freight traffic heading to the West Country was from Southampton docks and could go only one of three ways, A34 via Stonehenge, A35 via the South Coast, or the A36 via Salisbury. All three created their own problems in terms of long delays. He demonstrated how investing in improvements in existing roads, building a part-orbital bypass for Salisbury connecting all trunk roads, following some of the same route approved in 1994, would remove all traffic congestion in Salisbury, creating a much greener city and crucially trigger investment.
Most importantly, he claimed, it would provide a solution to the A36 South/North route and a trunk route to the West Country from the docks without passing Stonehenge, reducing fuel bills and travel times considerably.
The Department For Transport representative was encouraged by the presentation and explained that, for it to be included in the next rounds of roads infrastructure funding (RIS Futures), it would be helpful to have the presentation, with a survey undertaken, that informs how significant the impact is on businesses and visitors, and a cost-benefit analysis.
Salisbury Chamber has put together a simple survey to provide the evidence needed and request that every business completes and posts it.
The survey can be found at: Salisbury bypass survey
At a recent Chamber event Andy Rhind-Tutt said: “This latest meeting with Highways England and the DfT has been the most positive and constructive discussion I have attended in many years . With the support of our business community completing the simple survey, there is a real opportunity now to kick the ball out of the long grass and see Salisbury in the pipeline for a much-needed bypass and wider road improvements.
“Please can I urge everyone to share this survey widely as this is an opportunity we may not get again for a long time”.
Red lorries show how traffic is held up most working days.
Blue lorries show flowing routes with new and improved (dual) roads.