18 July 2024

‘Blatant disregard’ for the people of Salisbury

A number of local councillors have written to the boss of Highways England to share their frustration with the government company that ‘operates and improves’ England’s roads.

Neil Winter, Highways England route manager, has heard from elected members for Salisbury and Wiltshire where they claim Highways England has shown “a blatant disregard Highways England has shown towards the people of Salisbury in recent years”.

Love Salisbury has been given sight of the letter which is signed by 11 councillors including Cllrs Jo King, Jo Broom and leader of Salisbury City Conservatives Paul Cunningham. It opens, “We, the undersigned, note our total dissatisfaction and frustration with the current situation on the A36 through Salisbury.

“Two issues stand out: the lack of any meaningful progress on the Southampton Road walkway/cycle lane improvements, and the potentially life-threatening consequences of the traffic light outage on St Mark’s Roundabout.”

Councillors’ concerns include:
• The severe lack of consultation with Wiltshire Council and Salisbury City Council on the Southampton Road scheme, which carries a total cost of £600,000+
• The carelessness with which Highways England’s contractors have dealt with Southampton Road/St Mark’s Roundabout, resulting in delays to the completion of works and dangerous road conditions which will cause accidents
• Highways England’s blatant disregard for the problems identified by local communities, e.g. gridlock on Churchill Way East

Cllr Charles McGrath, representing Salisbury Milford, has contacted Skanska project manager Adrian Simon about the Southampton Road works. Simon offered a written guarantee that the works would be completed by the end of June, despite no visible progress being made since May.

Regarding St Mark’s Roundabout, Cllr McGrath (Salisbury Milford) has been contacted by many residents about near-misses, especially involving cars entering the roundabout from Wain-a-Long Road and Estcourt Road.

The letter continues, “A Wiltshire Council officer explained that the traffic light outage, caused by a contractor accidentally damaging the ducts and power cables connecting the lights, would only be repaired in months, not weeks, while also noting that the roundabout is ‘not suitable for operation without traffic lights’.

“We believe that these two issues are emblematic of the blatant disregard Highways England has shown towards the people of Salisbury in recent years”.

Citing ‘intolerable congestion’ on College Roundabout and Churchill Way East, the councillors continue by stating that ‘schemes with costs running into 6-figures are being imposed on the city without good reason, while resolutions to actual problems faced by local communities… are ignored.”

The letter concludes, “On behalf of our residents, we register our disappointment at the treatment of our city by Highways England and their contractors and demand an urgent and comprehensive action plan to resolve these issues and stop them from happening again”.

The letter was signed by:

Cllr Paul Cunningham – Salisbury Harnham West (City), Leader of Salisbury City Conservatives
Cllr Charles McGrath – Salisbury Milford (Wiltshire/City), Deputy Leader of Salisbury City Conservatives
Cllr Jo King – Salisbury Milford (City)
Cllr Sven Hocking – Salisbury Harnham East (Wiltshire/City)
Cllr Jeremy Nettle – Salisbury Fisherton and Bemerton Village (City)
Cllr Atiqul Hoque – Salisbury St Edmund’s (City)
Cllr Ed Rimmer – Salisbury Bemerton Heath (City)
Cllr Mary Webb – Salisbury St Paul’s (Wiltshire/City)
Cllr Jo Broom – Salisbury Harnham East (City)
Cllr Mark Mewse – Salisbury St Francis (City)
Cllr Cliona Hibbert – Salisbury St Francis (City)

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Written by Staff Writer