Help revive our city after nerve agent attack #SalisburyIsOpen

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Three weeks ago the beautiful cathedral city of Salisbury hit the headlines across the world for the nerve-agent poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal, thrusting our small city community into the international spotlight.

What was missed in the coverage of this terrible event, is that Salisbury is a special place with a unique character - and it is one that needs your help! People have stopped visiting our beautiful city, causing local businesses to suffer. That’s why I’m calling for the Salisbury International Arts Festival to be held even though it was not scheduled to take place this year. It could provide much needed support to our local businesses.

I have always felt that those who have never visited Salisbury are missing out on an open secret. There are few places where a city (albeit a small one) is so connected to both history and the countryside.

Our streets used to be bustling with locals and tourists enjoying our charter market, shopping in our unique independent shops, or enjoying a meal in our restaurants, all while soaking up the history of our medieval streets and cathedral. We could lose this if we don’t act.

After the world’s media descended onto our streets, we experienced a massive drop in visitors to the city centre even though the cordons are in place for a very small area. For those like me who are lucky enough to call Salisbury home, the impact of this event to our local economy is of huge concern. The reduction in visitors is having a devastating effect on our local businesses.

Staging a festival for the summer of 2018 would provide a fantastic focus to revive the city after this terrible event, and to share with the world what locals already know - it’s a simply magical place to spend time.

Salisbury’s International Arts Festival has in previous years hosted 200 events over 6 days before the grand finale - a party in the cathedral close. It’s terrible timing that, just as we find ourselves in desperate need of an event to bring in tourists the International Arts Festival is on a scheduled break until 2019. Even a downsized festival would be of great value.

While our thoughts are of course with those who were poisoned in this terrible incident, we desperately need to spread the message that not only is Salisbury a wonderful and special city, but that it is very much open for business. Please sign this petition to help support our city.