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Recent updates

  • Article: May 12, 2020

    English Heritage has cancelled the Stonehenge summer solstice celebrations because of the ban on mass gatherings.

    Traditionally about 10,000 people gather at the monument to mark midsummer.

    The occasion will instead be live streamed on social media.

    English Heritage says it has consulted with religious groups, Wiltshire council, and the emergency services. The council are fully supportive of the decision which is in line with the latest Government guidance around mass gatherings.

  • Article: May 11, 2020

    The economic impact of Covid-19 means the council's liabilities exceed its cash assets. Opposition councillors had repeatedly warned the Conservative administration about the dangers of letting reserves fall to what were perilous levels even in 'normal' times, though in fairness it's unlikely that higher levels of reserves could have saved the council.

  • Article: May 8, 2020

    Many county and district councils will be effectively bankrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic. That means central government will have to choose how much local government it wishes to maintain and pay for. It may choose to move services outside of the democratic sector, with the council tax being expanded to pay for them, and to run them without what it sees as the unnecessary burden of council bureaucracy.

  • Article: May 8, 2020

    Town and parish councils have been asking about the possibility of some of the government funding being dished out to Wiltshire Council by the Government being devolved to themselves. Over recent years WC has been shunting costs onto parish councils. However WC leader Philip Whitehead says the county council will hang on to the cash. Here's his statement to the council:

  • Article: May 7, 2020
    By WC (edited)

    WC says it's doing its bit to boost cash flow in the county during COVID-19 by paying around £100m in supplier invoices during the past month.

    In April, the council settled around 20,000 invoices, ensuring businesses were paid promptly during this difficult time.

    The council carried out a total of 58 payment runs through BACS and 15 cheque runs during this time.

  • Martin's Farm fields off Ashlawn Road
    Article: May 7, 2020
    By WC

    Help is available for farmers who are struggling at this time. Russell Frith (Russell.frith@wiltshire.gov.uk) is an ex-farmer and works for Wiltshire Council as an inward investor. Any farmer in need of assistance or advice should contact Russell. He is particularly aware that the drilling season has been dire this autumn/spring till now. Some commodity prices, mainly beef and lamb, have recently fallen due to closure of the hospitality sector. He suspects a number of farmers are on the edge, both financially and mentally.

    The National Farmers Union has written to large landlords asking for rent reductions. Other sources of help include www.nfuoonline.com; The Prince's Countryside Fund www.princescountrysidefund.org.uk; Country Land and Business Association www.cla.org.uk.

  • Article: May 5, 2020

    Wiltshire branch of the National Education Union has written to all Multi Academy Trusts, Wiltshire Council, members of the Wiltshire Teachers Advisory Committee, and stand-alone Academies, to provide details of the Union's position about schools reopening.

    They say:

    "Teachers, parents and education staff have responded with the utmost seriousness and professionalism to this crisis. They need to be confident that public health is the priority in all considerations concerning how we work together to combat this terrible virus. If confidence and clarity are lacking, there is a risk of chaos and greater spread of the virus.

  • Article: May 1, 2020
    By Salisbury Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group

    As part of the process of making a neighbourhood development plan, Salisbury City Council is conducting a Community Survey to allow the public and interested parties to contribute ideas and opinions on the following subject areas:

    • Climate change and energy efficiency
    • Housing need
    • Community infrastructure
    • Green Infrastructure
    • Transport
    • Economy
  • Article: Apr 30, 2020

    The changes, which were agreed by Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group at an extraordinary public meeting today, (Thursday 30 April), are in reaction to the Covid pandemic and the increase in the number of women choosing to have their baby at home.

    The birthing unit at Trowbridge will now remain open until Monday 1 June, instead of closing at the beginning of May.

  • Article: Apr 29, 2020

    Staying at home all day and not getting exercise can have side-effects such as obesity, ill health and insanity, so the importance of getting out safely is recognised by experts. There are no restrictions on the public's right to use designated footpaths in rural areas, but common sense and courtesy to landowners and other walkers are necessary. Natural England say: