Tomorrow night, Monday 9 October, Ludlow Town Council will meet to discuss its response to Shropshire Council’s parking proposals. It is unhappy with what Shropshire Council is proposing. The draft document says:
“The unique qualities of Ludlow, its distance from the County Town and the current destination of parking revenues mean that the temptation to treat the town as a ‘cash cow’ for the Unitary Council must be resisted at all costs.”
At their last meeting, Ludlow town councillors could not agree on a response to the parking strategy. Hence Monday night’s special meeting, which will also discuss grant applications. The meeting begins at 7pm in the Guildhall. As usual, there will be a 15-minute public open session at the beginning of the meeting.
The full paperwork in PDF (16.4Mb).
Town council’s draft response
The draft paper says Ludlow has an “economy based firmly on tourism”:
“Over many years, Ludlow has developed an economy that has weathered the decline of the traditional town centre throughout the UK and emerged with an economy that is successful. As successful as Ludlow is, the interplay and balance of the town’s business & tourism economies is critical and any dramatic change in the balance of any of these factors could well lead to a rapid and terminal decline in the overall local economy. Shropshire council must employ joined up thinking and recognise the importance of a fit for purpose parking strategy.”
“It is essential for the town’s economy that there is a steady turnover of on and off-street parking. People who work in the town also require long stay parking provision. On-street bays in the town centre should be remarked to ensure efficient use of the limited space and create an additional 12 on-street parking spaces].”
The council wants to boost the park and ride service:
“It is essential to the lifeblood of the town that a ‘fit-for-purpose’ Park & Ride (P&R) service is provided to run 7 days per week. The production of a parking ticket issued at the out-of-town site [Eco Park] should entitle a driver and one passenger to travel into and out of the town at a reduced cost. P&R routes must be as direct as possible and as frequent as is practicable. To have an important tourist centre unable to provide a P&R service on what is often the busiest day of the week [Sunday] makes no financial sense at all.”
The council says the current ‘pop and shop’ 15-minute grace must be maintained to encourage local shoppers and maintain the rotation of spaces. The extension of parking charges from 6pm to 8pm “would irreparably harm the night-time economy of the town” and would deter visitors and volunteers at the Ludlow Assembly Rooms.
It wants short term parking limits to remain and says the long term car parks work well:
“There needs to be a quick turnover short term parking available at Castle Street Car Park and Galdeford [upper tier]. There is no capacity for residents parking in these car parks. Galdeford [lower tier] and Smithfield need to be longer stay to provide for those who wish to spend more time in the town. These are, in fact, the provisions that apply now and they have proved successful.”
Coach parking spaces and market trader permits should be maintained.
The town council gets tough on residents parking schemes. There is anecdotal evidence that some residents obtain permits for people that work in the town but do not live here. It is said that some permits are photocopied. The council is calling for permit applications to be checked to ensure the vehicle is registered at that address. Permits should cost £50 a year for a vehicle in the Blue Zone. A permit for the first vehicle in the Red Zone would cost £50 and the second £100.
The council doesn’t pull its punches on criticising the Shirehall’s motives:
“Changes imposed to benefit the admin processes and revenue streams of Shropshire Council are not fit for purpose for Ludlow. The only beneficiary of the increased Sunday charges is Shropshire Council’s coffers. That the proposed increases were astronomical at 167% and 273%. That the proposals are biased towards those who can afford to pay and have deep pockets. Shropshire Council must recognise the importance of a fit for purpose parking strategy that works to support Ludlow.”