Shropshire Council is proposing a major overhaul of parking arrangements and charges across the county. The consultation creates an opportunity for us to reorganise our car parks and on street parking. This post reviews how we might use our off-street parking most efficiently at the Castle Street and Smithfield car parks.
In my view, Castle Street should remain a short-term car park and not become indefinite-stay as Shropshire Council is proposing. One option we might consider is to extend Smithfield to include the Youth Centre car park at weekends.
Car parking spaces and costs
Castle Street has 136 standard spaces and 7 disabled bays. Smithfield is smaller, with 108 standard spaces and one disabled space. The following are the current and the proposed four-hour rates, a typical period that a visitor and many others stay in our town.
The current arrangements in the Castle Street car park work well. Shropshire Council, however, wants to remove the four-hour limit on parking. Shoppers, traders and visitors will be able to stay for as long as they wish, providing they can afford £1 an hour. A season ticket allowing 24-hour parking, seven days a week will cost either £116.00 or £133.33 a month (Shropshire Council is consulting on two pricing options). Quarterly and annual season tickets will be available.
For the first time, residents will be able to buy season tickets for Castle Street (and other car parks). This will allow them to park without limit for either £640.00 or £800.00 a year. A more restricted ticket for evenings and weekends only, would cost £320.00 or £480.00. Evenings will begin at 4pm.
If the prices in the consultation are implemented, it will be possible for residents to leave their car in Castle Street for less than £2.20 a full day. It might be as cheap as £0.88 a day for overnight and evening parking. That will be convenient and affordable for many residents, particularly given the shortage of parking in the town centre. But it could lead to much of the car park being occupied by residents’ vehicles and not by shoppers and visitors.
I don’t think we should introduce a system which will reduce short-term parking in the town centre at weekends. The £1.00 an hour charge is too high – a charge of £70p would be more appropriate.
I would welcome your views on Shropshire Council’s proposals for Castle Street.
Proposals for Smithfield Car Park
Under Shropshire Council’s proposals, Smithfield will remain a long-term car park. This car park is mostly used by visitors and people working in the town. Short-term parking will be cheaper than at present but long-term parking will be more expensive. Currently it costs £2.00 for four hours. The council is suggesting that this is cut to £1.20 – £0.30 an hour. Ten hours will cost £3.00, rather than the £2.00 charged at present.
The Youth Centre is adjacent to the car park. This has 23 standard spaces and two disabled bays. The Youth Centre is regrettably little used. During the week, its car park is used by people working at the centre and by parents dropping off and collecting children from St Laurence’s CofE Primary School. The car park is barely, if at all, used at weekends, though many people park there without permission. Could this become a weekend extension to Smithfield car park? If each space is used just twice a day this would provide an extra 50 spaces a day for visitors to Ludlow.
Please let me know your views on Shropshire Council’s proposals for Smithfield and the suggestion of using the Youth Centre spaces at weekends.
See also proposals for Upper Galdeford car park.
. The council wants to introduce ‘linear pricing’, jargon for car parking being charged at a constant hourly rate. This will replace the current arrangement where the effective hourly rate decreases the longer you stay. Car parks around the county have been divided into seven charging bands, with prices varying from free to £2.50 an hour. Motorists will get what they pay for. If they put £2 into a machine on a car park where the charge is £1.20 an hour, they will get 1 hour 40 minutes.