Salisbury Cathedral Close Preservation Society


SCCPS News - July 2021


Unacceptable Traffic Proposals

Proposed changes to Exeter Street Roundabout (Option 2) could have very adverse effects for a section of the Grade 1 listed Close Wall near the Exeter Street Roundabout. Option 2 and the proposals for the Harnham Gyratory junction could also have a negative impact on St Nicholas’ Road and on traffic exiting The Close from the Harnham Gate along De Vaux Place.

One of the Society’s members has prepared a summary of the issues. The Trustees of the Society are broadly in agreement with its content. The Trustees have put in a response opposing Option 2 for Exeter Street Roundabout. We have also expressed concern that Harnham Road/St Nicholas’ Road could become a heavily used cut through by those wishing to avoid the traffic system at the Harnham Gyratory. This can already be observed but would worsen were the proposed changes to go ahead.

Option 2 Drawing...

Summary of Issues...

Link to Consultation for adding your voice (cut off 18/07)...

as of 15/07/21




Salisbury Cathedral awarded Ecochurch Gold Award

The Cathedral has become the first cathedral to win this award, having gained bronze and silver awards in recent years.

Read full text of chairman's report here...

as of 21/06/21



A new Traffic Kiosk for The Close

Great news: The new kiosk is to be installed in July, with financial support from the Society and a number of its members.

We are delighted that this important entry point to The Close will finally cease to be an eyesore. It is also great news for the traffic team who will now spend their next winter in a well-insulated, heated and double-glazed kiosk.

The new kiosk has been designed by Nico Villeneuve, life member of the Society. We are indebted to Nico who has generously contributed his time and designer expertise for free.

Kiosk Elevation EastKiosk Elevation North

Read full text of chairman's report here...






November Evening Aglo

View from St. Nicholas Hospital 19/11/20

Spire Lit up

Click on picture for full size display - photo and composition by Robin Haldane 19/11/20



Objection to COU for Fishing Lodge

The holder of the sub-lease of the Fishing Lodge has applied for "Permitted Development". The Fishing Lodge is located near the Avon behind Kings House and Sarum St. Michael. The location is a High Risk Flood Area.

It would appear this may be in breach of the relevant lease, although restrictive covenants are not taken into account by the planning authority.

The Society considers this application wholly inappropriate and has filed objections. (read full submission...)

as of 17/07/20

Link to Change of Use application...

The Society is very pleased that this application has now met with a very clear and prompt refusal. (read more...)

as of 21/07/20




In Memoriam Professor Ron Johnston, OBE

The Society has learned with great sadness that its long serving trustee Professor Ron Johnston has died on 29th May 2020.
Ron enjoyed a long and distinguished academic career as a geographer. He is the author/co-author of 55 books/monographs and author/co-author of more than 1000 articles in refereed journals/chapters in edited books.
In addition to many honours he was awarded the Prix Vautrin Lud (the 'Geographer's Nobel Prize) in 1999 by the Festival Internationale de Géographie. In 2011 he was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for services to scholarship.
Alongside his academic career he has been a passionate bell-ringer and published two books – Change-Ringing: the English Art of Bell-Ringing and An Atlas of Bells. He was President of the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers from 1993-1996.
Despite his many commitments and interests he has been a very active and engaged trustee of the Society. Lately he has co-authored and edited the Society’s “Guide to Salisbury Cathedral Close”.
Ron will be missed very much and our thoughts are with his widow Rita and their family.

Link to Bristol Universtity - Obituary

Link to The Times Obituary


Up-coming AGM and Lecture

At Sarum College, Monday 4 May, 2020, 18:30

Due to the current pandemic this event has now been postponed until further notice

For further detail read more


Salisbury Central Area Framework Consultation

Unexpected and inappropriate changes in the wording of the latest draft of the CAF document and a lack of engagement with the Society's earlier submissions have given rise to a third submission on 20 February 2020.
In summary:

  • The current CAF draft section for The Close drops "tranquil/quiet place and contemplation..." for "tourism..." The implied advocay of further commercialisation is wholly inappropriate and contrary to the grade I listed status of both the Cathedral as well as The Close.
  • The local authority has a statutory obligation to have special regard to  preserving listed buildings “and their settings” in making planning decisions.

  • The Close is a Heritage Asset in its entirety. The CAF needs to address the importance of this setting.
  • CAF recommends to “Seek to identify suitable points of access to the river for the public within the Cathedral Close”. This would destroy the historic layout of The Close. There are many miles of much more appropriate river banks for this in the Salisbury area. .
  • Pedestrianisation: The North (High St) Gate provides the only vehicle entrance to The Close. It is the only adequate access for the emergency services. Therefore, the section of the High Street between its intersection with Crane Street and New Street and the North Gate is not feasible for pedestrianisation.
  • The CAF wishes to remove uncoordinated street furniture and signage. The Society strongly supports this approach.

Read the full text here…

Previous Submissions:

On behalf of the Trustees of the Society the chairman has sent a second consultation submission to the CAF team on 8 October 2019. Read the full text here…

Professor Ron Johnson has provided the following consultation response on 19 July 2019:

"I am writing on behalf of the Trustees of The Salisbury Cathedral Close Preservation Society. The Society is a registered charity whose aims are ‘to promote knowledge of The Close, its history and architecture and to secure the preservation, protection and improvement of its features of historic and public interest’.

In this context, we were interested to read the consultation document on the Central Area Framework and very pleased to note the features that you deem characteristic of The Close – notably Contemplation and Quiet. We very much welcome that characterisation and the statement that you wish to protect that area, which is entirely consistent with our view of the future of The Close. It is also consistent with the Salisbury Conservation Appraisal and Management Plan which identifies, as core features of The Close, its ‘quiet formality’, its ‘tranquil character’ and ‘the absence of commercial enterprises within the walls’. This is an area that, as you note, contains Salisbury’s major tourist attraction but whose unique features should be protected from commercial intrusions other than those low key activities which are provided by the museums and other buildings open to the public which add to the attraction of The Close. These should continue to be constrained by planning conditions to ensure they do not damage the unique setting of the collection of heritage assets that comprise The Close. We therefore commend your proposals for The Close and trust that they will be retained in the final draft of the Framework.

Elsewhere in the consultation document we note that you identify ‘Limited links between the Cathedral and the city’, which we assume refers to physical links. It is true that there are only five entrances to The Close, two of which provide access to schools from Exeter St and are not usable by the public. To us that is not a weakness; it is part of the charm of The Close that it is both separated from and yet open to the city; indeed, the vista looking south down the High St to the North Gate offers an attractive and welcoming prospect along the route that most visitors traverse when moving towards The Close and Cathedral. Improving that access route by reducing traffic in the city centre and creating pedestrianised or pedestrian prioritised informal or enhanced streets as you propose is therefore much to be commended – while noting that the North (High St) Gate provides the only vehicular entrance to The Close, which is of course a residential area with several hundred inhabitants as well as a major ecclesiastical, educational and visitor attraction.

Many visitors, especially those visiting Salisbury on coach tours, enter The Close through the St Anne’s Gate, with the coaches being parked on the west side of St Johns St. This is not a satisfactory situation, and the coaches – many of which come from continental Europe and discharge their passengers on the right-hand side into busy traffic – create both a traffic blockage and air pollution. The framework refers to the need for additional parking but makes no specific proposals for where this might be located. Creating such additional parking in locations that would end the use of the west side of St Johns St by coaches would substantially improve the quality of the local environment there.

There is one major impediment to your achieving the ‘people friendly’ city centre you aspire to, with improved air quality and a ‘rebalanced city in favour of pedestrians and cyclists’ – Churchfields. We note that this area continues to be characterised by trading, industry and working in the Framework map. Not only that, it mentions a wish to ‘increase intensity of land use’ there, which would surely only exacerbate the problem? There has long been discussion about, even an intention to bring about, the rezoning of Churchfields with the employment moved elsewhere and the land used for housing. Nothing ever gets done and it seems you now no longer even raise the possibility. If Churchfields is to remain then there has to be an end to the volume of traffic moving to and from there through the city centre, notably along New St and Crane St. This heavily-polluting traffic (noise as well as vehicular emissions) creates an unsafe environment and impinges heavily on the pedestrian environment, notably but not only at the New St/High St crossroads. While that continues, everything else you propose for the city centre is put at risk: if Churchfields is to be retained in its current form and use, then an alternative route serving it – presumably from Netherhampton Road – must be a part of the plan.

We commend the Framework for its aspirations and intentions, therefore, but believe you must go further if you are to achieve those laudable ends."

Posted 190720

Up-coming lecture:

St. Nicholas Hospital - 800+ years


Steve Dunn

Former Clerk of St. Nicholas Hospital

At Salisbury Museum Lecture Hall

13 November 2019 - 18:30

Members and non-Members welcome.

Steve Dunn has been Clerk to the Trustees of St. Nicholas Hospital for several years as well as Salisbury Cathedral Head Guide until recently. He relinquished the post to head up the team studying the graffiti in the Cathedral. He is a diligent researcher and experienced lecturer.

Steve will give an illustrated lecture spanning over 800 years of the history of St. Nicholas Hospital. He will give us a glimpse of this venerable Salisbury institution and its setting which predates the foundation of the Cathedral.


members £10, non-members £12 (including a glass of wine or soft drink); obtainable on-line

Click to access Ticket Source for on-line booking

Tickets may also be obtained on the night at the venue (cash only), or by post from: ‘SCCPS Lecture’, 53A The Close, Salisbury, SP1 2EL. Cheques only payable to “SCCPS”. Please include a stamped addressed envelope. Tickets may also be bought (cash or cheque) in person from the above address but please telephone 01722 331141 first to ensure you don’t have a wasted journey.

From June 2018:

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:

  1. Commercial intrusion into The Close, a reason why the Society has objected to planning applications in the past at Arundells and Mompesson House
  2. 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
  3. (1) and (2) above run counter to the Society’s objects of preservation and protection of the nature of The Close
  4. Noise intrusion with the Market playing music, running generators,
  5. 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
  6. 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 controverisal 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 persmission.


The following links give access to a selection of relevant documents:


Link to the Society's first submission

Link to the Society's second submission

Link to the Society's third submission

SCCPS letter to Historic England

Objection by Miss S. Eward, retired Librarian & Archivist of Salisbury Cathedral.

Planning Authority Decision
Planning Officer's Report

This planning application has proved hghly controversial. As of 05/06/18 there have been 96 submissions; the overwhelming majority of these are objections.

Posted 180607

A new guide book to Salisbury Cathedral Close

Published by the Society

Guide Book Flyer

^^Top of Page^^


In Memoriam John Wort


The Society mourns the death of its past Chairman, John Wort, who served as a Trustee from 2000 and as Chairman from 2008 until 2016. When John retired back to his home town of Salisbury he joined The Society because he was interested in the care of The Close. Sir Robin Ibbs invited him to join the Committee, then become Vice Chairman and later John succeeded Sir Robin Ibbs as the Society’s Chairman. John’s calm manner, sound common sense and firmness maintained the respect with which the Society’s views were held with a succession of Chapter Clerks. Among his principal achievements was the Society’s response to the Cathedral’s master plan. The Society received a warm, hand written note from the Dean for its response to the Master Plan and that was certainly not because the Society had agreed with everything. He strengthened the membership of the Board with his invitations and its stability by his chairmanship and great sense of humour; it was always a pleasure to attend the Society’s Trustee meetings. He was always generous in his encouragement of the efforts of others and was much missed when he resigned in 2016.

^^Top of Page^^


In Memoriam Brenda Theodora MacKechnie - Jarvis

We are sorry to report the death of Brenda Mackechnie-Jarvis, who died on August 20, 2017. Together with her husband Charles they were founder members as well as committee members of the SCCPS. Both had a keen interest in the Close and lived at Number 9 for some years having previously lived in London where they brought up their family. They later moved from the Close to Milford Mill Road and enjoyed the extensive and beautiful garden.

During her time as member of the SCCPS Committee, she gave well considered opinions about the changes to traffic management proposed by the then Dean. She readily took on the administrative responsibilities of the Committe. Brenda was the most practical of people and always optimistic.

Her determination to maintain her fitness, particularly of walking, despite the pain and discomfort she experienced in doing so, reflected her positive view of life. She made countless cakes for many good causes as well as the SCCPS and was always ready to help and support those in need. She elected to join a small group of elderly people who were offered the chance of studying GSE Latin which she greatly enjoyed and continued to attend and contribute to the classes until very shortly before her death.




In Memoriam Ronald C H Briggs

The Society has been sad to learn of the death of Ronald Briggs on 28 December 2016. He was a founding member of its committee and played a very active role in promoting its early campaigns. Ronald served for a period as the Societ's Chairman. Long after his retirement from this role he continued as an active contributor.







At the October (2016) meeting of Trustees:

  • It was agreed to submit a response to Wiltshire Council concerning the Dean & Chapter's Revised Master Plan.
    Click this link to view the current draft response. (view...)
    Members are invited to contribute their comments to the SCCPS Trustees prior to submission.

    The revised master plan summary can be viewed via this link (view...)

last update 02/06/20 ^Guide Book^ ^^Top of Page^^


Exeter Street Roundabound looking East

Nico Villeneuve

Fishing Lodge und water

Fishing Lodge under water (left)

Ron Johnston

Professor Ron Johnston, OBE

Click for Guide Book
Guide Book Cover

Guide Book Cover

Mrs MacKechnie - Jarvis
Mrs MacKechnie - Jarvis
September 2016


Ronald C H Briggs