Month: June 2020

King Street closure order has come into force – it’s closed to vehicles every Friday and Saturday for up to 18 months

The closure of King Street between 10am and 3pm today and tomorrow is a temporary measure. Initially it will be in place for 18 months but it can be cancelled at any point if it is causing disruption. The closure is to promote social distancing on one of our busiest streets for traffic and pedestrians. In ordinary times, pedestrians squeeze along the narrow pavements with their shopping bags and pushchairs. They frequently spill out into the road, as do the drivers of mobility scooters, where they compete with cars and vans for use of the narrow street. This congestion has always been hard to resolve because shops need deliveries, town centre residents require access to their homes and people coming into town to shop or eat need to park. Now the experimental closure to motorised vehicles is underway. We must see how it works.

Boris Johnson’s announcement today is good news for Ludlow – it’s time to declare #ludlowisopen (at a social distance)

Two metre distancing has proved difficult on Ludlow’s narrow streets. It has proved impossible on many of its narrow pavements. The market reopened but there have been fewer stalls. People have been walking about, especially in the afternoons. But do they spend the money that we need to keep our town centre and its traders thriving? Can we get the buzz back into our town? That buzz has seemed an impossible ambition in recent weeks with Ludlow’s famous market operating at less than half its capacity. With Ludlow Castle closed. And our pubs, cafes and restaurants closed.   Many of us have felt like we were walking through a ghost town. We felt uncomfortable at times. Should we be there at all? Are we allowed to parade in our town? Can we hope to shop in our town? From 4 July, that should all change. Social distancing restrictions will be eased. It will not be business as usual but it will be business in Ludlow. Ludlow will be open!

Yesterday morning, Catherine Beanland, partner at Portcullis Surgery in the heart of Ludlow spoke to BBC Radio Shropshire about how Ludlow has reacted to the Covid-19 epidemic and how our community has responded. Telling Eric Smith and Clare Ashford that she initially feared as many as 200 deaths in Ludlow, she said how proud she was of how Ludlow responded to the emergency. She praised the care homes and Ludlow Community Hospital for how their staff selflessly coped with the arrival of Covid-19 in the Ludlow area. She praised the “enormous sacrifice” of time and family life that carers in Ludlow have made. Dr Beanland stressed that we are not out of the woods yet. It’s an ongoing battle not a victory. But Ludlow has coped well because our community has worked together to prepare for the arrival of the pandemic and lockdown, and support people during it.

Developer of Linney House lodges appeal before the latest two planning applications have been decided

At the end of last year, developer James Hepworth lodged yet another application for housing in the gardens of Linney House, this time for four homes. The previous application for eight homes lodged in March 2019 had not yet been decided. It still hasn’t been decided so Mr Hepworth has asked the planning inspectorate to decide the application. He is within his rights to do so but it takes the decision out of local democratic hands. I have asked for both applications to be considered by the Southern Planning Committee. In the instance of the eight homes now being appealed, the committee can only give an indicative opinion, the decision it would have made. This will be passed to the planning inspector in Bristol. I have rarely seen such a weak case for an appeal. The scheme is well designed and will be an attractive place to live. But it is the wrong place and is not needed in a town which already has planning permissions for nearly 750 unbuilt homes.

Shropshire Council publishes order to close King Street to vehicles on Friday and Saturday 10am to 3pm

Today, Shropshire Council published the orders to close King Street during the middle of the day on Fridays and Saturdays. The closure will come into force next Friday, 26 June. There has been a lot of debate and confusion about this road closure. Many people want King Street with its “narrows” closed at peak periods seven days a week (see my poll). Others did not want it closed at any point, especially owners of town centre businesses. Ludlow Town Council wanted High Street closed as well. Then Shropshire Council unexpectedly decided to close King Street seven days a week. After something of a rumpus, the council decided to restrict the closure to two days. Which what we agreed in the first place. We must now see how this goes. We need to talk to businesses, residents, shoppers and visitors about how the closure helps them or whether it hinders them.

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