The Board of Swindon & Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (SWLEP) has confirmed it will cover the costs of the postponed People Friendly Salisbury project, a scheme designed to prioritise space for pedestrians and cyclists in the centre of Salisbury.
The total cost of the project – which is being developed by Wiltshire Council – is £3,105,000. The SWLEP contribution is £1.3m, which comes from the Local Growth Fund.
The SWLEP directors recently received confirmation that the project has been suspended indefinitely, and the initial money allocated by the SWLEP cannot be split, that is, SWLEP is unable to support “just the complementary measures.”
The money is also required to be spent by the deadline of 31st March 2021, a target which was set by the UK Government as a condition of the Local Growth Fund.
SWLEP has confirmed its full support for the scheme as originally approved for spending and directors were disappointed it could not proceed as planned.
The project has been achieved through the introduction of a Low Traffic Zone (LTZ) in the city centre (with exemptions for certain vehicles); and through a series of complementary measures such as the introduction of parklets and seating, additional cycle parking, priority crossings, an eCycle hire scheme and improvements to the way pedestrians move through the centre of the city.
The Board authorised payment to Wiltshire Council of £393,116 to cover its development costs and to support further Wiltshire Council’s intention to revisit the scheme when the constraints of the Covid pandemic are removed.
The Board allocated the remaining £906,884 to its loan facility with the intention of using it to support a new project it is developing, a Business Cyber Centre.
Cllr Philip Whitehead, Leader of Wiltshire Council, explained, “People Friendly Salisbury was developed as part of our wider strategy to support Salisbury and to help reduce traffic within the city, improve air quality and give pedestrians priority in the city centre. It will also deliver the objectives of the city’s Central Area Framework for people-friendly streets and our climate change ambitions.
“We’re pleased that, like ourselves, the SWLEP continues to back the scheme and has agreed to cover our development costs. It also agrees with our intention to revisit the scheme when we have renewed support from all stakeholders in the city, and we are no longer impacted by COVID-19.”
Paddy Bradley, CEO of Swindon and Wiltshire LEP said, “The directors of the SWLEP are firmly behind this scheme and see it as a very good way for Salisbury to grow its city centre economy. We look forward to the time when conditions allow, the scheme’s intentions can be revisited, and a project can start again with the backing of all stakeholders.”
Pictured above: Paddy Bradley, CEO of Swindon and Wiltshire LEP