Boosting businesses in Wiltshire
Alison North, independent business owner and board director reflects on how the A303 upgrades will boost business in Wiltshire.
23 Feb 2021
Independent business owner, board director, Deputy Chair Elect at SWLEP and FSB Wiltshire Area Lead.
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Wiltshire is a vibrant region with a diverse business landscape. Important historical sites like Stonehenge, Salisbury Cathedral and Barbary Castle bring in thousands of tourists every year. Alongside these well-known places, it's a county of wonderful, hidden surprises.
The importance of tourism can't be overestimated, and good transport routes into and out of the area are extremely important. The businesses connected to tourism need visitors and whilst we've got trains and buses, many of the tourist gems are really only accessible by car. Good, safe roads that connect the environment, people, history and beauty of the area are very important. The upgrading of the A303 will help open-up access to the whole area.
The A303 Stonehenge project should reduce journey times for everyone who drives along the road and hopefully encourage more travel between communities and attractions. It is hoped that it will also lead to a growth in housing for local people and for those who want to move out of cities and benefit by living in our beautiful countryside.
Speaking of the countryside, reducing the sight and sound of vehicles from the landscape is an amazing idea and connecting the archaeological sites will give visitors a much better view of the whole area. It should encourage longer walks and improve understanding of Wiltshire’s history and the county. A much better experience all round.
There will be plenty of short-term benefits too with the construction of such a large project in our area. The project will bring in additional people to the neighbourhood, working on the construction, for example. This in turn will increase the footfall in local hostelries, shops, the service industries, which in turn should create more jobs and opportunities for young people and those affected by the recent pandemic.
But for me, this exciting project is really about the future. It should boost the local economy, improve the environment, and develop new businesses that work from Wiltshire and deliver here and beyond our borders. It could attract well established businesses to move here and enhance the county’s profile as a great place to live and work.
The A303 improvements could be the start of something really promising for our county and its people.