Planning Application – Christmas Market In The Close
Discussions have been going on since November 2017 about splitting up and extending the Salisbury Christmas Market into The Cathedral Close. At that time, the Trustees of the Society raised several concerns/objections to this with Dean & Chapter which can be summarised as:
- Commercial intrusion into The Close, a reason why the Society has objected to planning applications in the past at Arundells and Mompesson House
- The scale of the commercial intrusion and its duration – since Dean & Chapter are talking of up to 50 stalls for up to six weeks, including set-up and dismantling
- (1) and (2) above run counter to the Society’s objects of preservation and protection of the nature of The Close
- Noise intrusion with the Market playing music, running generators,
- increased traffic, etc., in a predominantly residential area Increased traffic and traffic congestion, with set-up and dismantling, stocking and re-stocking and comings and goings of stall holders
- Damage to grass and trees in the churchyard, since the cabins will sit on the grass for about six weeks, in winter.
On 11th April, Planning Application 18/03096/FUL was registered with the Wiltshire planning authority.
The Trustees have submitted comments and objections to the Planning Application. We repeated our previous concerns about destroying this island of tranquillity around the Cathedral and thus losing a unique asset of the City of Salisbury.
A key planning consideration is that the Christmas Market will be in the curtilage of the Cathedral, a Grade 1 listed building, and in The Salisbury conservation area. This requires the planning authority to “pay attention to preserving and enhancing the character and appearance of the conservation area.” Salisbury Cathedral Close is also a residential area unlike other Cathedrals. Exeter, Winchester, and Bath Abbey which are cited as examples of hosting Christmas markets are each in the heart of busy commercial areas. They are no sensible comparisons to Salisbury.
At the very end of the consultation period it transpired that the applicants wanted to relocate the market from the Guildhall Square into The Close rather than expand it as stated in their application. In addition to creating the dis-benefit of damaging the unique setting of The Close it would also create a dis-benefit in the commercial centre of Salisbury by reducing activity there.
The Society is especially grateful to Historic England for getting involved in this controversial matter.
A temporary change of use has been granted, albeit with conditions. We understand that the applicants are not going to make use of this conditional permission.
The following links give access to a selection of relevant documents:
Objection by Miss S. Eward, retired Librarian & Archivist of Salisbury Cathedral.
This planning application has proved highly controversial. As of 05/06/18 there have been 96 submissions; the overwhelming majority of these are objections.