Salisbury is to be boosted by £6.06 million of funding for the Salisbury River Park project to reduce the future risk of flooding in the city centre and deliver associated environmental benefits.
The funding is coming from the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (SWLEP) as part of the project to develop the Salisbury River Park project to be located alongside the river Avon as the runs into the city centre.
Philip Whitehead, Leader of Wiltshire Council, said: “We are delighted the SWLEP has agreed to provide significant funding towards this scheme in Salisbury. The Salisbury River Park project is a joint scheme with the Environment Agency that will help reduce the flood risk to various areas in the city and improve leisure and recreational uses as well as ecology and biodiversity enhancements. These improvements will make possible city centre development in the future.
“This is one of the first initiatives to come forward from the recently endorsed Salisbury Central Area Framework which aims to ensure the city has a more vibrant and sustainable future.”
There is a high level of river flood risk in large parts of Salisbury city centre which is projected to increase due to climate change. Following the winter 2013/14 floods in Salisbury, the Environment Agency invested in new flood risk modelling for the city, which enabled a better understanding of how/when flooding is likely to occur across the city, including the Maltings and Central Car Park site.
The Salisbury River Park project will deliver essential infrastructure, providing flood risk alleviation and environmental improvements on the Maltings and Central Car Park site to de-risk the site and enable new development and city-centre regeneration to come forward.
The project will significantly reduce the risk of flood to a large part of the city for both residents and businesses. It will unlock the potential for a new residential-led scheme to come forward in line with the Maltings Masterplan which was endorsed by Strategic Planning Committee in June 2019.
As well as providing critical flood risk alleviation, the Salisbury River Park also seeks to transform the River Avon and its margins through central Salisbury by enabling river corridor improvements that will naturalise the river channels, improve climate change resilience and remove barriers to fish passage, increase biodiversity, improve amenity value, provide health and well-being opportunities.
The River Park will also enable exciting economic growth and regeneration within central Salisbury including the Maltings and Central Car Park as well as improving the environment for residents and visitors alike.
Paul Moorby, SWLEP Chair said of the project “We are delighted to support this project with direct funding. It will unlock homes, businesses, public space and help our visitors, both domestic and international, to enjoy the wonderful heritage that Salisbury offers.”
It is hoped that these environmental improvements will lead to improved public physical and mental health, better cycle and pedestrian routes, enhanced green spaces with 2 hectares of new high-quality riverside habitat, new planting of trees and 13 hectares of high quality public open spaces to be enjoyed by all.
The overall reduction of disruption from flooding to transport will enhance Salisbury as a tourist gateway with increased visitor numbers building on Salisbury’s already strong tourism sector.
Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, Luke Hall MP said:
“It is crucial that we invest in the right infrastructure to protect our communities. That is why we are investing £5.2m, through the Local Growth Fund, in flood risk alleviation and environmental improvements for Salisbury. Not only will the project improve residents’ safety, it will also bring exciting economic growth and regeneration opportunities to the region.”