OUT! DAMN BIKERS! is the wrong approach for our town centre

I was rather surprised to find myself challenged three times walking through the market today about my support for a ban on motorcycles parking on Castle Square. I have never agreed with this ban sponsored by Ludlow Town Council. I cheer the weekend bikers’ gatherings. I think it is great for the town. It’s great for traders. Today I signed a petition against the council’s proposed ban.

I just don’t agree with the ban. Ludlow Town Council has got this one wrong.

The most important thing is to let Ludlow Town Council know your views. The council says it will accept responses until the middle of next week (6 June).

You might also like to vote on my poll.

Today, people were crowding around the twenty or so bikes outside the castle. The arrival of the bikes was an attraction. Bikers snacking up and spending their money locally.

There have been problems with lousy biker parking and revving of bikers’ engines in the town centre. A few advisory signs would solve most of that. We have “quiet deliveries” schemes for supermarkets, so why not a “quiet bikers” scheme? Around the country we have considerate parking schemes. But here in Shropshire we never take a soft and social approach. It’s the iron fist. Always.

OUT! DAMN BIKERS!

Here we have a set piece clash. It’s between those who moved to the town centre to live a quiet life and those that want to keep our town centre lively. And a town council that believes that yet more regulation is the only way forward for our town.

The heart of this problem is Ludlow Town Council’s proposal to ban all vehicles, including motorbikes from the market area. It is the ban on motorbikes that will hurt the town as there are no alternative places.

Shropshire Council told me this week that scheme is “nothing to do with us.”

I challenged that when I met Shropshire Council’s traffic commissioners last Monday. I asked about the market area consultation. They said that the consultation on restrictions in the area has no authority from Shropshire Council. It was something done on Ludlow Town Council’s own back. I have asked for clarification on the legal side of this but have had no response.

I hate the idea of banning bikers from the town centre. If they are banned from the front of the Castle, they will have nowhere else to go. Ludlow Town Council has not put forward any proposals for alternative biker parking. I simply don’t know why the town council is backing a ban.

If bikers go elsewhere, it will not affect the income of Ludlow Town Council one jot. But it will contribute to the chilling effect on trade in the town centre that is driven by business rates hikes and soaring rents.

I have chatted to many bikers outside the castle in recent weeks. They agree that they should not block access when parking. I am sure that most will agree not to blast their exhausts just for the fun of it if we explain the reasons.

Ludlow Town Council needs to ask itself whether its primary duty is to keep our town centre tidy and quiet. Is its aim to manicure Ludlow so it looks like town centres in glossy Sunday supplements? Or is its ambition to promote a thriving economy.

We can work with the bikers who spend a lot of money in our town and help bring life to it. Or we can send them elsewhere.

The town centre is a difficult place to manage because of the competing interests between residents, traders and visitors. But if the town centre dies, Ludlow dies.

Town centres need to operate in a social way. The iron fist ban proposed by Ludlow Town Council is out of order. We need to welcome people to our town centre, not drive them to other towns.

8 thoughts on “OUT! DAMN BIKERS! is the wrong approach for our town centre

  1. Stratford on Avon has lots of bikers visiting their town. What did Stratford do? They provided a first class bike park adjacent to the main central multi-storey car park. This park exclusively for motorbikes is most definitely NOT a scrap of left-over tarmac in a remote part of town. The parking is smart, well laid out, large, planted with trees, and is close to ‘facilities’. In other words it is ‘civilised’. I can’t be certain, but I believe it may still be free to park there.
    Stratford on Avon is a larger town with a huge tourist population, but clearly they have seen the light concerning motorcycles. As have most places on the continent.

  2. I forgot to add that bikes also take up far less space per vehicle than cars – something that is often overlooked. Bikers pay road taxes too…

  3. I think we need to welcome bikers, I always find them well behaved, sociable, and to be honest the long distance bikers have some attractive looking bikes.
    Ludlow Town Council is indeed wrong on this one – fully concur with your sentiment Bodders

  4. I agree entirely with the views of other commenters. A total ban of the largely friendly retiree bikers is a sledgehammer to crack a nut. As an incomer living in the centre of town I am appalled at the way some newcomers constantly try to change the nature of their adopted town. May Fair and now bikers. I came to Ludlow because it was a real multifaceted town and also a welcoming one. Perhaps those who want a quiet theme park version of an historic town should move to the sleepy boring Cotswolds. The Town Council should be thinking of the whole town not just a few mean spirited town centre lobbyists.

  5. I don’t want to ban motorcycles from ludlow, but I don’t understand why they get free parking on a pedestrianised area under control of Ludlow Town council, when all other parking charges in the town are set to be increased and are covered by enforcement.

    I am beginning to get annoyed at being labelled because I live in the town centre. I do not belong to any lobby groups, I strongly support the Mayfair, I do not fiddle my parking permit and I didn’t move to Ludlow for a peaceful life. I’ve just lived in the town centre for 65 years!

  6. In about 1995 I found the incessant noise of the bikes unbearable and I asked a POLICEMAN standing by if he could ask them to switch off their engines. He was not enthusuatic BUT a few weeks later we had quiet in the town square only interrupted when the bikers moved off. This level of noise seems tolerable to me and I have frequently enjoyed the market on a Sunday with only occasional interruptions fom the bikers. If this is still the same situation then we should bear with it.

  7. If I were Donald Trump I would say this is “FAKE NEWS” !!
    I am unaware as a Town Councillor any decision has been made regarding any/all parking in the whole market square.
    I would also suggest caution making statement such as “bikers who spend lots of money in our town” Which is total hearsay and unsubstantiated and certainly considerably less than the residents of the town centre.

  8. Ludlow has always been a busy, bustling Borders Town.
    I am deeply concerned that the town is in grave danger of being over gentrified and becoming another sterile tourist town.
    Castle Square is the beating heart of the town…is that heartbeat too loud for some?
    I was in Ludlow yesterday on my 1952 Norton along with other members of our local Vintage Motorcycle Club. One of our members present is 87.
    We were welcomed. We behaved. Our bikes were admired. We were horrified to hear of the proposed ban. We could go to another, less potentially politically correct town, but we would not want to.

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