In the Shropshire Star yesterday, Ludlow Chamber of Commerce made the case for a multistorey car park in Ludlow. In an attack on Shropshire Council’s proposed car parking strategy, Tish Dockerty, secretary of the Chamber said:
“What Shropshire Council has failed to realise is that Ludlow needs more parking spaces. The most effective way of making more money for their coffers is to build a multistorey car park which could be filled a hundred times over. However there has been no or little investment of this type by Shropshire Council.”
Do we need a multistorey car park? Do we want one? Are there alternatives? Please vote below.
This is not the first call for a multistorey car park for Ludlow. The idea has been mooted a few times over the years along with demands that off-street car parks to be handed over to Ludlow Town Council. With Shropshire Council reviewing how much it squeezes out of the public for car parking, it is timely to look at the idea again.
The only practical place for a multistorey is on the car park behind the Library, Upper Galdeford B. A multistorey at this location would take advantage of the contours of the land. If it was one-storey high – two parking decks – an extra 220 spaces could be created. That would increase the capacity of the Upper Galdeford car park from 329 spaces to an estimated 551 spaces. Overall, off-road parking in the town would increase from 581 spaces to around 800 spaces, an increase of nearly 40%. Adding a third deck could provide another 240 spaces.
It is very hard to make a car park beautiful. Multistorey car parks are notoriously ugly and unloved. This does not have to be the case in Ludlow. Should this idea come to fruition, we should aim to swaddle the building in flowers and greenery. It should be our very own “Hanging Gardens of Ludlow”. Any scheme should improve the Upper Galdeford and Station Drive area, not detract from it. I would not support an ugly building, no matter what the economic benefits would be for the town.
How would a multistorey be funded? I can’t see Ludlow Town Council being brave enough to take on a scheme as large as this. If any action is to be taken, it will by Shropshire Council. Most major councils, including Shropshire, tend to be capital rich and revenue poor. The council leader, Peter Nutting has advocated investing in infrastructure cross Shropshire to generate long term revenue. So, if there is a will, I think a business case for a multistorey could be made to Shropshire Council.
But there could be significant disadvantages to this scheme. A two-deck car park will generate perhaps an extra 500-600 vehicle movements a day. That will increase traffic pressure on the Galdeford corner and the One Stop junction in East Hamlet, as well as along Gravel Hill.
A multistorey car park will promote car traffic and, until we go all electric, generate more toxic air. Shouldn’t we be promoting more sustainable and environmentally friendly alternatives? Would it not be better to invest in better park and ride facilities and services?
Let me know your views in the comments area below. But first, please cast your vote on whether you think a multistorey car park in Ludlow is a good idea or simply not right for this town.
. To the best of my knowledge, Ludlow Town Council has not made a request to Shropshire Council for transfer of the car parks.
. This is a back of an envelope calculation. Around 360 new spaces would be created on a two-deck car park. Approximately 138 existing spaces would be lost.
. Excludes the Linney car park, which can take up to 40 well parked cars.