Parking is among the most divisive issues in our county. Residents want restrictions and priority. Traders want flexibility. Shoppers and visitors want to park easily. Everyone wants the lowest charges, except Shropshire Council which needs to raise revenue to fund its highways work. Resolving the conflicting viewpoints means that there is good news in the council’s new parking strategy but also some bad news. Some parts of the policy don’t work for Ludlow at all.
This article describes the changes that have been provisionally agreed to be implemented in September. A subsequent article will look at the implications for Ludlow.
Shropshire Council’s Cabinet has agreed the first part of the new parking strategy, covering times of operation, length of stay and charges. The costs of resident’s permits and season tickets will be agreed in February. Also in February, the Place Overview [scrutiny] Committee will examine the Cabinet decision.
Proposed parking restrictions in Ludlow
Charging will begin at 9.00am not 8.00am.
Charges until 8pm, instead of 6.00pm, will apply on-street in the central Red Zone. (Map of Red and Blue Zones.)
Daytime limits on length of stay will be abolished, including in Castle Street car park and the Red and Blue Zones.
Pop and shop will be reduced to 5 minutes. Shropshire Council says the limited “pop and shop” will be topped up by 10 minutes observation time.
Loading bays on-street in the Red Zone will apply until 8.00pm instead of 6.00pm.
Proposed charges in Ludlow
Zone B parking will be charged (currently there is a daily charge of £1.20 only on the Linney and Coronation Avenue).
Hourly charges will range from £0.30 to £1.80.
Daily charges will range from £2.40 for 8 hours in Smithfield and Upper Galdeford Zone B to £19.80 for 11 hours on-street in the Red Zone.
Half price parking on Sundays will be available in the Castle Street car park and on-street in the central Red Zone.
Free parking will be available on Sundays in car parks, and on-street in the Blue Zone.
Weekly tickets will be available in Upper Galdeford and Smithfield car parks and on-street in the Blue Zone. Costs will range from £10.00 to £24.00.
Season tickets, for periods ranging from 1 month to 12 months, will be available Upper Galdeford and Smithfield car parks and on-street in the Blue Zone.
Residents will be able to purchase annual season tickets for Upper Galdeford and Smithfield car parks and the Blue Zone. Costs will range from £192.00 to £448.00.
Parking waivers for trade vehicles will cost £20 a day.
HGVs will be charged £10 a day, with a lower rate for season tickets, of parking in Smithfield.
See note on equivalent current hourly rate.
What happens next
Part 1 of the parking strategy was approved by Shropshire Council’s cabinet on 17 January. The cost of implementation will be around £1.2 million for legal costs, new signs and upgrades to parking machines. The council will also create a dedicated annual budget of £250,000 for car park maintenance and upgrades.
The changes are due to be implemented in Ludlow in September 2018. Before that, the parking strategy will be subject to scrutiny by the Place Overview Committee, provisionally at 10am on 12 February. This follows a call-in from the Lib Dem group on the council. The report of the scrutiny committee will go back to cabinet for discussion of any recommended changes.
Once the council comes to a final agreement, it will need to draft a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO). This will be subject to public consultation for 21 days after the draft order is published. Currently, this is expected to begin in March.
What people thought of the proposals
There were more than 2,000 responses to consultation. The cabinet papers do not quantify the comments received. For example, on linear pricing (a standard rate per hour), some respondents said “tariffs too high”, others said “tariffs too low”. What was the balance of too high and too low? Did respondents in Ludlow think the same as those in, say, Shrewsbury an Oswestry? We are not told.
The council does provide data on the Yes/No responses gathered via the online response form. These do not support the majority of the council’s proposals.
. Currently parking is restricted to a maximum of four hours in Castle Street car park and between one and three hours on-street in the Red Zone.
. The Civil Enforcement of Parking Contraventions (England) General (Amendment) Regulations 2015 say: “No penalty charge is payable for the contravention where the vehicle has been left beyond the permitted parking period for a period not exceeding 10 minutes.” Not many people know this.
. I presume that this applies to only those areas that currently have restrictions, and not streets such as Friars Garden and Friars Field that do not have restrictions for parking areas.
. Residents’ parking permits will be discussed by Cabinet in February.
. It is very hard to express an equivalent hourly rate for current parking charges. For example, Coronation Avenue and the Linney offer all day parking for £1.20 – equivalent to £1.20 for one hour and £0.12 an hour for the maximum chargeable period of ten hours. Parking on Mill Street costs £2.20 for three hours, £0.73p an hour for the maximum stay.
. Part 2, covering residents’ parking permits, will be agreed by Cabinet in February.
. This will be funded from a combination of revenue income and “prudential borrowing”, a loan from the Public Works Loan Board of £917,000.