The consultation run by Wiltshire Council has been met with serious doubts about the viability of their proposals.
The plans to update the junctions at Exeter Street, Harnham Junction and Park Wall Junction were put out to public consultation in June and have been met with an underwhelming amount of support.
There were 290 responses to the online questionnaire and 67 emails were received, which contained a total of 1,214 comments on various aspects of the schemes.
In addition to these public local councils and interested businesses and organisations also have given their input.
Salisbury City Council welcomed Wiltshire Council’s commitment to easing the longstanding congestion problems at key junctions in the city and recognised the difficulties involved in devising a scheme, and the effort that has gone into it. The City Council had some concerns but wished to engage as constructively as possible in delivering the best possible plan.
Salisbury Civic Society raised objections to Option 2 for the Exeter Street roundabout as they consider the impact would quite clearly be unacceptable. It would destroy an important area of grass and trees between St Nicholas Road, Exeter Street and the Close wall. In their view, the visual damage to this part of the Salisbury conservation area, and to the setting of the Close wall and of the cathedral, would be completely unjustified, quite apart from the current contribution to the air quality of the probably three trees which would be lost.
Salisbury Cycling Opportunities Group (COGS) supported the principles of the scheme; however, they do have some concerns both about the effectiveness of the various interventions proposed and also about the cycling infrastructure which is suggested. In the public consultation, neither option was favoured, with 50% of respondents expressing that neither of the two options would be preferred. There was a slight preference for Option 1 from the other half of the respondents.
At Exeter Street Roundabout Option 1 was preferred to Option 2 (Option 1 – 36%, Option 2 – 14%, Neither – 50%). A number of consultees objected to Option 2 and Historic England raised concerns about that option. The removal of trees at the Exeter Street Roundabout with Option 2 was considered to have a negative effect (15%). There were other objections to Option 2 (10%) and views that bringing vehicles close to the wall of the Close should be avoided (10%).
There were comments that the proposed signal-controlled pedestrian crossing of Churchill Way South was not required because of the existing subway (10%).
Some responses suggested that the improvements don’t go far enough and that other areas also need consideration. In the consultation, it was suggested that College Roundabout was the junction that required improvement (17%), that Salisbury needs a bypass (15%), or that the proposals were too minor in nature and would not overcome the problems (10%).
The proposed changes at Harnham Gyratory were not considered to be significant by some (27), and it was suggested that the gyratory flows more freely when the traffic signals are turned off (14).
It was suggested that the proposed changes for Park Wall Junction would make little difference (22), and the geometry of the junction needs to be amended (12) with possibly compulsory purchase used (11).
Wiltshire Council will now take the information collected through the consultation process and it will be used to develop and inform the assessment of the options in more detail.
Wiltshire Council reminded us that ‘It should be noted that the consultation is not a public ‘vote’ for the most popular option. There are many factors to be taken into account in determining the final scheme, including emerging guidance on carbon impacts, ecology, public health and road safety, landscape, heritage, employment and the economy, flood risk and drainage, cost and economic benefit.’
You can read the full public consultation report here – Consultation Report