Everyone knows that parking spaces are a precious commodity on this town. Today was a typical September Saturday. The park and ride bus was busy and car parks began filling up from before 10am. But bizarrely, someone had decided to cone and tape off nineteen spaces on the top deck of the Upper Galdeford car park.
I arrived in town around 10.25am. At that point, the queue of people waiting for the flu jab at the Portcullis GP Practice was snaking out of the door. Several people I spoke to said they had struggled to park. Some with limited mobility had struggled up from the lower levels of the car park because there was no parking near the surgery.
I queried why the cones were there and I got a very quick response from Shropshire Council’s parking team. An off duty officer said she had not given permission. After a brief exchange of emails, we agreed I could shift the cones and reopen the spaces.
This was all resolved quickly and the spaces filled within ten minutes of the cones being moved.
No one seems to know why the cones were put out or who was responsible. Maybe it is in preparation for some work next week. But that is no excuse to close parking spaces for the weekend. Had the cone people not seen the banner outside Portcullis surgery advertising the flu clinic? Did they not know that Saturday is Ludlow’s busiest day?
I doubt that they thought about it for a moment and this typifies a wider problem with highways work in Shropshire. The convenience of the council and contractors is sometimes put ahead of the economic and social needs of the county and its market towns.