‘Walkway to nowhere’
Salisbury City Council planning committee rejected, by an overwhelming majority, the plan to decant the City library into the old C&A building on Fisherton Street as part of redevelopment of The Maltings shopping centre in the city centre.
At its meeting on February 4, the members were scathing about the plan and the new building design. The main objections were based on the change in economic circumstances since the plan was first launched.
Cllr John Walsh, one of two councillors representing Fisherton and Bemerton village ward, said: “There is no way a huge development on the central car park will go ahead. To spend a huge amount of money on an massive archway walk-through (into the proposed development) will result in a walkway to nowhere.”
The idea of a cultural quarter in the city centre was launched, “but nobody seems to know anything about it,” he added.
The new building seemed to have no connection to a cultural quarter. It would be “a few months until we see the rest of the plan for the site,” he pointed out.
Members also feared moving the library to a temporary building to allow the construction of the ‘walkway to nowhere’ could result in ‘temporary becoming permanent, if the developers decided not to include a new library premises in the next stage of the plan’.
“All we have left is a vague plan for a cultural quarter for which there is, as yet, no details, and none likely to be forthcoming until late Spring.
“To rush ahead with decanting our well-positioned and successful library into a less obvious temporary site, which may well become permanent, if funding cannot be found, is unacceptable. Only when we have had firm assurances on where the final home of the library and the Young Gallery will be in the ‘Cultural Quarter’ should we agree this initial move.
“This hurried piecemeal development is being driven by the need to spend more than £6 million pounds of Government funding by 2021 on developing a large walkway, leading to the Maltings.
“We should wait to see what the developers are prepared to bring to the table, rather than waste public money on a walkway which may not lead to any new developments worthy of the name.”