Salisbury is the cathedral city in southern England that made the international news in 2018. The nature of the incident that caused this and the resultant disruption in the city centre, coupled with the widespread media coverage, had a direct hit on visitor numbers to the city, as evidenced by a significant drop in footfall.

The response to the incident brought together different interests in the city, including the higher level local authority (Wiltshire County Council), the town council (Salisbury City Council), the BID, police, health services, the cathedral, and business interests and residents to support the recovery of the city. Now that the immediate incident is passed and normal activity has resumed in the city, it was felt that the city should look to the future. As part of this, they asked the Institute to run a workshop looking at the vitality and viability of the city centre.

The vitality and viability workshop was held on 15 February in the city's Guildhall. It attracted a wide range of stakeholders incuding city centre business leaders, those involved in promoting tourism, public authorities, and the city's MP. Institute Directors Simon Quin and Steve Millington presented the latest insight into the changing role of city centres, drawing on our own research and data from others. We also looked at footfall changes and trends in Salisbury. Most of the session involved work by the stakeholders attending to develop a shared understanding of Salisbury today and in the future. The discussion groups were animated and clearly identified challenges and opportunities for the city.

The Institute will now present a short report summarising the workshop and the key findings emerging from it that will shared by those attending and hopefully form the basis for developing an effective strategy to take Salisbury forward.

The workshop was hosted by Wiltshire County Council, Salisbury City Council and Salisbury BID, who are members of The BID Foundation.