Throughout August and September 2023, Salisbury residents were asked their views on what the Council’s priorities should be before the budget is decided.
To view the results of the survey, click here
Some residents are dissatisfied with council effectiveness and request that councillors work collaboratively, putting the interests of the community first. There are calls for better collaboration and communication with Wiltshire Council and greater clarity on which body is responsible for which services.
Your city councillors are happy to raise issues with their Wiltshire counterparts on your behalf, where these are Wiltshire responsibilities. We have tried in the consultation leaflet which we delivered recently to explain which authority is responsible for which service but we appreciate that not everyone will have retained the leaflet.
Specific questions raised in feedback…
- Please can Councillors put the party politics to one side and work together?
Despite the appearance of conflict, all councillors are committed to doing their best on behalf of residents and do work across party lines on all sorts of projects and initiatives. Councillors are acutely conscious that people ‘don’t care whether services come from city or county funding’ and just want services to run. We will continue to commit to working with all partners across the city to make things run smoothly. If you see a problem or notice something lacking, please do raise it with your local councillor team who will happily try and help.
Many residents mention the importance of listening to the concerns and needs of the community and want more involvement in decision-making processes, including greater consultation. There’s a call for improved communication about city events and plans, as well as transparency in how decisions are made, and funds are allocated.
We take the concerns and needs of our residents very seriously and do our best to work as transparently as possible. In the last two years, all council committee meetings have been made public and are now online too. Residents are always welcome to attend (or watch online) our committee meetings and we encourage everyone to engage with their local councillor. Both the Salisbury City Council website and www.experiencesalisbury.co.uk are great resources for keeping up to date with all that goes on in Salisbury.
Listening and communicating with residents is a priority for the Council and we will continue to try and improve on this.
Thank you very much to the 59% of survey respondents who said that they were willing to take part in further research. We are planning some focus groups in order to gain further insight into some of the response.
Specific questions raised in feedback…
Please can all of the Councillors engage with their residents?
Your local Councillor is always keen to hear your thoughts and feedback. Details of how to contact all Councilors can be found on the Salisbury City Council website
Why were Councillors not present on a designated day: i.e., 10.00 to 11.20 on Tuesday 15th August as advertised in “Your Voice Heard” brochure?
Can I attend council meetings so that I am more aware of what is going on?
Yes! We would be delighted if more residents attended our meetings are had their voices heard. For details about meeting times and dates and how to submit questions please go to our website www.salisburycitycouncil.gov.uk
Some residents are concerned about disparities in the maintenance of green spaces, citing issues with grass cutting, litter removal, and a reduction in bins. We heard some frustration with planning decisions and a desire to protect green spaces and avoid overdevelopment, particularly on flood plains. There are concerns about traffic congestion causing pollution in the city centre. Residents want the city to be more environmentally friendly, with a focus on insect-friendly plants and a balance between environmental efforts and maintaining the city’s appeal.
Salisbury City Council shares these concerns about environmental issues and our Strategic Plan reflects our intent to become a Green City. We have areas of wildflower meadow, an ambitious tree strategy and a fleet of electric vehicles all reflecting the start of this work.
Salisbury City Council is using its voice to communicate resident priorities around the built environment, over development and traffic congestion to Wiltshire Council. We have submitted a Neighbourhood Plan and are responding to the Local Plan Review.
There is a desire for further local business support and residents want more business opportunities, particularly for young entrepreneurs, to attract people to Salisbury. There are calls for more employment opportunities, particularly in the IT sector, to keep young professionals in Salisbury. Concerns are raised about excessive retail concentration on Southampton Road and empty shops in the city centre.
We realise that a vibrant business community and employment opportunities are vital to a healthy city. Consequently we work closely with Salisbury BID (Business Improvement District) and jointly fund initiatives to attract people and businesses to Salisbury.
Some residents mention the high council tax in Salisbury compared to neighbouring parishes. Concerns are expressed about the impact of potential council tax increases and there is a call for responsible financial management. Some questions are raised about the allocation of council tax, post Novichok central government funding and repayment of debt.
Salisbury’s council tax is higher than that of some neighbouring parishes because it runs many services that they do not, for example the Crematorium, city parks, and public toilets. This reflects Salisbury’s role as the commercial and retail centre of the area. Unfortunately the parish system imposed on Salisbury by central government does not allow us to tax residents of neighbouring parishes to help pay for this.
Salisbury does not have debt, other than approved loans from the public works loans board, repayments for which are detailed in our budget papers.
Concerns are raised about wheelchair accessibility in the city centre parks and at events. There is a call for improved facilities, including accessible toilets, parking, and signage. A specific question was raised about Pride in 2023.
We want Salisbury to be accessible to everyone and Salisbury City Council prioritises inclusion and accessibility. The year councillors have run an accessibility task group, working with local residents to prioritise areas of work, we have conducted an accessibility audit of some of our parks. We run Salisbury Shopmobility to promote this and provide residents and visitors a means to move about the city easily. We offer disabled toilets and are working to make all public conveniences gender neutral and offer changing places facilities. We have also conducted an accessibility audit of some of our parks and We have ambitions to have money in our budget to work towwork towards these public conveniences being fully accessible.
Specific question raised in feedback…
What happened to Pride this year?
Pride events are not organized by Salisbury City Council although we do support these where possible. We were not approached about a Pride event in 2023.
Concerns are raised about traffic congestion, inadequate cycling infrastructure, and the need for improved public transportation links. There are calls for pedestrianisation and a desire for more traffic calming measures to improve safety and footfall in certain areas.
Transport and traffic is one of the biggest frustrations in Salisbury, Salisbury City Council is working with partners to highlight walking and cycling routes as much as possible and pushing Wiltshire Council to implement its own transport strategy for Salisbury.
Residents emphasise the need for better maintenance of roads, streets, pavements, and signage, as well as cleaner and tidier public spaces.
Roads, streets, pavements and signage do not come within the remit of Salisbury City Council. Our street scene team work hard to keep our streets clean and litter free – over the past 12 months we have taken this service in house and this has enabled us to enhance this area of work.
Concerns are raised about high parking costs, poor availability of parking and the knock-on impact on local businesses and recruitment.
Salisbury City Council own and manage Lush House car park however the parking charges in the city and all other car parks are managed by Wiltshire Council.
Concerns are raised about the need for redevelopment, particularly in areas like Castle Street, and addressing empty and run-down buildings. There are calls for the reopening of Salisbury City Hall as a large entertainment venue.
Salisbury City Council shares the desire to see the City Hall back open as an entertainment venue and is actively encouraging Wiltshire Council to explore options to achieve this. We are aware that this will require a significant investment by them.
We are also keen to see redevelopment of empty or run down buildings and support this where possible.