Local residents are preparing for a Battle Royale with a major property developer over the company’s attempt to close the pathway between Endless Street and Castle Street.
For some time now I’ve been campaigning – with local residents – to get McCarthy & Stone to re-open the pavements on Castle Street and Endless Street. Eventually they conceded.
Alongside this, we’ve been trying to get them to re-open the pathway that runs alongside the development.
Last week I wrote another e-mail asking them to “pull their finger out.”
On Friday afternoon came the news that they have no intention of handing the pathway back. Customer Support Case Manager Siobhan Wheeler, from their Bournemouth office, replied: “Thank you for your email and apologies that you had cause to contact us again.
“I have discussed your concerns with Dan Lampard, Construction Manager. Dan has confirmed that the link between Endless Street and Castle Street is within McCarthy & Stone land and there is no intention to re-open it to the public. It is not a public right of way but was an access route allowed by Aviva and managed by their own security at the time that they owned the land.
“The link has been out of bounds since we started demolition in 2018 and will remain as such.”
Last night I replied as follows:
“Thank you for your e-mail.
“With respect, I do not agree with your assertion that the Alleyway should not be re-opened to the public.
“I have consulted the Chairman of the St Edmund’s Community Association Mr Kenneth Edwards. He has been a Mayor of the City, Chairman of Salisbury District Council and has held many offices in local organisations. He has lived in Salisbury all of his life. He lives about 50 yards from the alley. He negotiated public use of the alleyway with the then site owners (UK Provident) in the 1970s.
“Mr Edwards tells me that the original pathway was on the Northern side of your site. When UK Provident wanted to re-develop the land Mr Edwards – then the local Councillor – negotiated with the site owners to move the alleyway to the South side of the site. That means the current alleyway has been used as a public pathway for at least 50 years – and before that an established pathway had existed to the North of your site.
“Your e-mail states: “I have discussed your concerns with Dan Lampard, Construction Manager. Dan has confirmed that the link between Endless Street and Castle Street is within McCarthy & Stone land and there is no intention to re-open it to the public. It is not a public right of way but was an access route allowed by Aviva and managed by their own security at the time that they owned the land.”
“With respect, that is not the case. Access was negotiated by Mr Edwards, and his fellow Councillor John Burden, enabling the public to use the route – as such we contend it has become an established right over the past several decades.
“I first came to Salisbury in 1977 and have regularly used the alleyway since then.
“We have witnesses who have also lived in the area for many years and who are prepared to testify on oath that the pathway has been used freely by local people for decades. We can also provide statements from residents saying the previous owners had a caretaker who opened up the gates early in the morning, and then closed them again in the evening.
“I visited the site at 1645 hrs this afternoon and met your site manager Mr Paul Conduct. He showed me the layout of the new development and we discussed the issue of the pathway, how it had been before, and how security might be provided to your residents in future.
“He said that he was concerned that local youths would congregate there. I made it quite clear to him that there had been no such trouble in the past. Even if it was a concern, CCTV, lighting and adequate security could be put in place at very little additional cost.
“Local residents believe that the pathway should be re-opened on the same basis as had previously been enjoyed by pedestrians and cyclists.
“We would like to resolve this matter amicably. Please feel free to contact me at any time to discuss this matter.