This parking crackdown has split the town. People should park legally and in a way that doesn’t block access to town centre properties. But there also needs to be a bit of give and take, especially as restricted parking areas in the centre of Ludlow are so poorly marked.
Officers have enforced parking restrictions where they are clear lines and signage. They have then gone on to slap penalty notices on cars where the lines are all but invisible. They assume a degree of technical knowledge about where and when you can park in our town. Most residents don’t have that knowledge. Tourists must find our badly signposted parking restrictions bewildering.
Work to repaint lines around the town centre and improve signage was requested two years ago. As part of a new deal to sort out Ludlow parking, the council’s contractors are due to paint the lines next Tuesday. This action has only come about because the huge anger generated by the parking clampdown. It is wrong that there needs to be a public row before Shropshire Council fulfils its statutory of clearly marking where people can and can’t park.
Shropshire Council hasn’t got this one right. It should have consulted with the town council and businesses about how to improve the signs and lines around the town centre. After that, it its first task should have been to repaint lines and provide clear information on where people can park. We councillors could then have worked hard to ensure that people were aware of what the rules are.
After a meeting in Craven Arms on Tuesday, we now have an agreement that Shropshire Council’s enforcement team will work with local councillors before any future crackdown. That will allow local councils and councillors to raise issues. That is the right way to approach the complex issue of parking enforcement in a historic town like ours.
Meanwhile, the current evening enforcement in Ludlow is set to continue. I don’t agree with that. The crackdown in Ludlow should be halted until it is absolutely clear that people know where and when they can park.
Shropshire Council issued 1,183 parking tickets in Ludlow during the first eight months of this year. Most fines are slapped on vehicles between 11am and 3pm; 188 (14%) were issued after 6pm as part of the evening parking clampdown. The top misdemeanours are parking in loading bays (27%) and on yellow lines (13% during the day, rising to 55% after 6pm). Parking in residents’ zones accounts for 12% of fines and abuse of disabled bays 10%. More than one in ten fines were issued for parking after the ticket expired. Nearly a quarter of all fines were issued in the town’s car parks (24%).