Salisbury Central Area Framework

Helping a city centre recover

Salisbury is an internationally recognised city. During March 2018, Salisbury became the centre of a global news story that affected perceptions of the city and undermined confidence in it. Footfall was down 15.7% in 2019 against pre-incident levels in 2017. The UK’s average decline in that same period was around 4.4%. Tibbalds was appointed to produce the Salisbury Central Area Framework. The document identifies key actions and initiatives for Salisbury’s long-term recovery as well as how to address other long-standing issues that had also contributed towards the decline of the city centre.

Wiltshire Council
SQW, Civic Engineers
Salisbury, Wiltshire
CAF Endorsed by Wiltshire Council, Salisbury City Council, Salisbury BID, Salisbury Cathedral and Local MP

Wiltshire Council and its partner organisations have launched the Central Area Framework in time for the City’s 800 year anniversary

Five themes of change

The Framework is focused around five themes of change:

  1. creating people-friendly streets,
  2. improving open space and the environment,
  3. creating vibrancy,
  4. bringing out the qualities, and
  5. establishing character areas.

These themes are underpinned by the golden thread of responding to and mitigating against the impacts of climate change.

The five themes ensure that the city centre’s transformation is considered holistically. Creating a better pedestrian environment ensures that people feel safer and that the city centre environment becomes more attractive and vibrant. A New River Park provides urgently needed flood mitigation as well as improved cycling routes to the city centre. Positive characteristics are brought to life and support the promotion of existing businesses.

1. Creating people friendly streets

To make the city centre, incorporating the High Street, a better place for people to move around safely, comfortably and in an environment with reduced noise and air pollution. The emphasis within the city centre will be changed from vehicular movements towards supporting public transport, cycling and walking. This will be a carefully balanced process to ensure business continuity and build support from residents and businesses.

2. Improving open space and the environment

The delivery of a connected green corridor through the city centre and improving connections between green spaces, rivers and shopping areas to improve dwell time, leisure and enjoyment. The main project, the River Park, is already on its way. The Council is working with the Environment Agency and other key stakeholders on the delivery of this strategic green space, that will create strategic cycle and walking routes into the city centre and protect it from future flooding.

3. Creating vibrancy

Giving residents and visitors a greater experience through activities that happen in addition to the day-to-day retail, leisure and service offer. To make this happen the Framework identifies the need to prepare a meanwhile use strategy for empty or under-utilised buildings and set aside funding to reduce the negative impacts of vacant premises and enable meanwhile uses to be delivered.

4. Bringing out the qualities

To enhance buildings and spaces to best showcase the unique and beautiful heritage of Salisbury city centre.

5. Identifying character areas and their role in city centre

Providing a clear and distinctive identity and purpose to the various parts of the city centre to enhance their individual character and roles. This will aid way-finding and allow visitors and locals to find, explore and make use of different parts of the city centre and act as a marketing and branding tool for businesses.

Successful partnership working

The Framework has been successful before it was even launched. The process brought together the key stakeholders of the City, including Salisbury City Council, Salisbury Business Improvement District (Salisbury BID), the Cathedral, Wiltshire College & University Centre and Swindon & Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership. For the first time there is an agreed plan in place that enables all parties to work together and jointly bring about positive change for the city centre. The Council and its partners have established a Future Salisbury Place Board that will oversee and steer the delivery of the Framework.

This new stakeholder partnership will ensure a better future for the city centre and Salisbury as a whole. Decisions will be coordinated, funding can be pooled to go further and an ongoing focus on Salisbury has been established through the newly created Future Salisbury Place Board.

I love living and working in Salisbury and hope to see more people moving to the area
Salisbury resident


  • Shortlisted in the Award for Fostering a Healthy High Street category at the Planning Awards 2020

Core Team

Below are some of the key people that worked on this project.

  • Portrait of Katja Stille
    Katja Stille
Portrait of Katja Stille 2022

Start the conversation...

Learn more about Salisbury Central Area Framework and other projects by contacting Katja Stille

Call Katja on 0207 089 2121 or email