PICTURES: People Friendly Streets scheme officially suspended

THE controversial People Friendly Scheme was officially lifted today, with cars returning to the city centre.

Wiltshire Council indefinitely suspended the scheme after mounting pressure from businesses and residents.

Salisbury Business Improvement District and MP John Glen also both called for the scheme to be suspended, and for a wilder consultation period before the initiative resumed.

The suspension came after a Salisbury City Council refused to confirm it would support the scheme moving forward.

The Experimental Traffic Regulation Orders (ETROs), which restricted some vehicular access into the city centre, have also been suspended.

The ‘bus gates’ at several access points into the city centre are no longer in place, but the anonymised monitoring sensors remain in place at key points in the city to monitor traffic volumes, queue lengths, cycle usage, pedestrian social distancing, and other metrics.

Councillor Bridget Wayman, Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “We are disappointed to have suspended People Friendly Salisbury, as Salisbury City Council would not offer its continued support for the scheme.

“Early monitoring of the scheme showed that it had not increased traffic on the A36 outside of the normal range and that traffic in the Low Traffic Zone had been reduced by around 50%, improving air quality in the centre and giving pedestrians more opportunities to socially distance. Average speeds in the city also decreased. However, without the support of partners and stakeholders, we cannot continue with the scheme at this stage.”

Cllr Wayman says Wiltshire Council hope that the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (SWLEP) will still “look favourably” on its bid for £1.3m of funding for improvements in the city, including cycling facilities, new bus shelters, Shopmobility improvements, an electric car club vehicle, enhanced public seating areas and improved signage.

Cllr Wayman added: “This has been a challenging year for all of Wiltshire’s businesses, and I hope that during the run-up to Christmas, people support our independent businesses by shopping locally as much as possible.”

Salisbury Journal | News