It’s English Tourism Week and I have been out and about all day in Salisbury, meeting with local businesses, retailers and attractions. Salisbury is one of England’s finest cathedral cities, and there is so much for local people and tourists alike to enjoy.
After starting the day at the hospital for an update from Chief Executive Cara Charles-Barks, I then headed back into the city centre for a tour of local businesses and tourist hotspots. I began at Griffin Cottage on St Edmunds Church Street where I met with Mark and Sue Brandon to discuss what we can do to promote our wonderful B&B sector. I informed that I had written to South Western Railway this morning, asking Managing Director Andy Mellors to make sure that Salisbury was a prominent destination in their Spring/Summer advertising campaigns.
I then walked across to Salisbury Museum where I met with Lady Marland, Adrian Green and City Councillor Simon Jackson. Located opposite our beautiful medieval cathedral, the museum houses some outstanding archaeological collections and is one of the ‘crown jewels’ in Salisbury’s tourism offer.
Following the meeting at the museum, I walked up the High Street for a meeting with a group of local shop owners at Hardings at Fifty Six High Street. Nicola Saddler had done a fantastic job of getting everyone together and we talked through what more we can be doing to support local shops and effectively market the city after the appalling incident on 4 March.
After that I quickly caught my breath in Queen Elizabeth Gardens and the Town Path through Harnham Water Meadows, where there is a spectacular view of Salisbury Cathedral. It is here that John Constable painted his famous landscape.
It was then back on to Fisherton Street where I headed to Fisherton Mill for a meeting with local business leaders, Wiltshire Council leader Baroness Jane Scott, and Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Michael Gove. The Environment Secretary is chairing the cross-departmental ministerial group which now meets following my call for its creation last week.
After hearing Michael’s reassuring words for local business, I spent some time in the Maltings, talking to policemen who are doing a fantastic job outside The Mill, and visiting businesses which have experienced a drop in footfall. It was great to catch up with Sarah Haydon at Conker to find out that financial support is now arriving in the bank accounts of businesses which have been most badly affected in the immediate area of the Maltings.
Today has been an excellent reminder of everything our wonderful city has to offer – both local residents and people visiting from other parts of the country and overseas. We are very fortunate to live in a place so steeped in heritage and culture, combined with a great retail offer. I am sure that we will quickly bounce back even stronger than before!