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Cllr Pauline Church is Wiltshire Councillor for Wilton and Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Salisbury Recovery

Monday, 20 August 2018

City recovery - another positive step forward

Last week we had the good news that The Mill pub has been handed back to its owners and is likely to reopen this autumn, which is another great step forward in Salisbury’s return to normality.

The Mill is central to the city and highly visible, and I’ve missed seeing locals and visitors alike enjoying this riverside location especially given the glorious summer we’ve had. Its reopening will be significant, removing one of the last indications of what occurred back in March. With only Queen Elizabeth Gardens and Zizzi remaining under cordon in the city centre, the clean-up process in these central locations will hopefully soon be behind us and history.

From what I hear people are keen to focus on the future and how we bring even more life into our beautiful city. Over the coming months a programme of events and activities will help to attract visitors and boost local businesses – and, that will be most welcome!

Just as a taster of what’s to come, this bank holiday weekend sees the launch of Wiltshire Creative’s first season. This new organisation is hosting a programme of events throughout the city that they’ve called Lift Off! From Friday 24 to Monday 27 August there is a great range of events and they are all free – you can find out more at Wiltshire Creative.

And, on Sunday (26 August) Rock the Square event will be in the Market Place, presented by Salisbury Live. Bands will be playing live music, and a barbecue, beers and ciders will be on offer – a great way to enjoy the August Bank Holiday and support Salisbury.

Every week as I write this blog, life is slowly but surely getting back to normal and the sense of positivity grows. It will take time, but it’s already underway and with everyone’s support we can make our city even better. I’ve never shied away from a challenge and am looking ahead to what’s needed and where I can help to make a difference and turn the past negative incidents into a positive future. I hope you will join me in this quest as it’s not just about the place – it’s about the people that make the place – vibrant, unique and well worth a visit!

Monday, 13 August 2018

A city with a wealth of young talent

The future is definitely looking brighter for Salisbury, especially last week when the Teenage Market was held in the Market Square. 

My daughter has had a couple of stalls at the Teenage Market with her Doggie Deli business selling homemade baked dog treats. The run up to the event is fraught with costing, styling, pricing and branding decisions not to mention making sure there’s sufficient stock and many times I have witnessed chaos in the kitchen ensuring she has the right amount of freshly baked goods. These are exactly the decisions established businesses have to make all time and I love to see her working through her business model to hopefully make a profit at the end of the day!  What a wonderful idea this market is – it provides young entrepreneurs with an opportunity to take their first steps into business promoting and selling their products. From delicious foods to artwork and handmade jewellery, it was great to see so many young people showing initiative and starting out in business making their mark as part of the local economy.  Street performers and musicians added to the event showcasing the wealth of young talent that south Wiltshire has. 

It was also Foodie Friday and a range of delicious foods and beverages were on offer tempting visitors, shoppers and me to indulge!  Seriously though these events are just what the city needs right now to encourage more footfall and its return to normal.  We know that footfall has been impacted by recent events in south Wiltshire, so I do hope stallholders at the Teenage Market were able to make the most of their day alongside our independent, one-off retailers that help to make Salisbury a unique and enticing place to shop. 

With Best Wishes


Monday, 6 August 2018

Historic walkway opening is a step towards normality

Salisbury is a unique city steeped in history with an array of the most wonderful postcard-perfect vistas.
Right on our doorstep we have the ancient World Heritage Site of Stonehenge, Salisbury Cathedral in its tranquil walled setting, and the Water Meadows so infamously immortalised by John Constable to name just three that spring to my mind.
Of course the renowned view captured by Constable can be seen from the Town Path which runs from West Harnham to Queen Elizabeth Gardens and on any given day we can view this scene and be part of the city’s living history.
As a child my friends and I would walk our dogs from Broken Bridges in Lower Bemerton, play Pooh sticks, continue to the Old Mill, have a paddle in the river then complete the circuit over picturesque Town Path.
Years later and as a young adult I lived next to The Old Mill Hotel and would use Town Path as my daily walking commute to work.
It never ceases to amaze me how beautiful it is - one feels you are in the middle of the countryside with grazing animals and the trickle of water as you follow the river bank and look at the iconic view of Salisbury Cathedral in the distance.
It was therefore such good news to hear last week that that this historic walkway had reopened and that access to the city centre is now without detours and barriers - it highlights a step forward towards normality and a very welcome one.
There is no doubt that the city needs footfall from both local people and visitors.
It will inevitably take time and tenacity to rebuild the city and attract locals and visitors that have been recently deterred from coming here.
The most recent incident was unexpected and one that will, in time, also become part of Salisbury’s history.
I am confident we will do this, as why wouldn’t we want to share our glorious history, our countryside and the magic that surrounds and emanates from our amazing city.

Monday, 30 July 2018

My view on the ground in extraordinary times...

Sometimes it’s those small yet symbolic moments that lift your spirits and make you smile.
For me this week I had one of those moments when I saw the amazing display of colourful umbrellas in the High Street in Salisbury.
The umbrellas are a bright, joyful canopy and given what the city has gone through and continues to go through, the display invokes a brightness and sense of positivity.
It reminded me, and I hope many others, that Salisbury is a beautiful and unique medieval city with so much to offer.
At a recent community meeting in Amesbury, a local resident said something that has stuck with me ever since.
He said: “Amesbury will carry on carrying on, that’s what we do."
It’s that show of strength and remarkable spirit that will help Salisbury and Amesbury get back to normal.
Let’s be realistic though – it’s going to take time and patience and belief.
Salisbury was just starting to get back on its feet when the second incident struck in Amesbury.
It was a shock to everyone and the reverberations were felt across both the city and the town.
During this difficult time it’s important we do all we can to assist the local economy; and local businesses need to speak to us if they are struggling as there is help available.
The Enterprise Centre at The Old Fire Station in Salt Lane in Salisbury has business advisors that provide free advice and access to funding.
Or you can also visit the Swindon and Wiltshire Growth Hub or call 01225 402096.
We have to look forward and believe in the future while confidence in the city gradually rebuilds. 
Like the umbrellas, so colourful and vibrant covering the High Street, I feel the future for Salisbury and Amesbury is bright.