The poll has closed. The results are in. My website poll launched midday Saturday received 760 votes. Six in ten people who responded to the poll favoured some form of pedestrianisation of the town centre (61%). The others wanted no road closures at any point.
Up for debate was a proposal agreed at Ludlow Town Council to close King Street and High Street to vehicles between 10am and 3pm on Fridays and Saturday. The aim is to promote social distancing.
I put four options into the poll. A quarter of people who responded want the streets closed seven days a week (26%). More than one fifth want closures on Saturday and Sunday instead (22%). Just 13% favour Ludlow Town Council’s proposal of closure on Fridays and Saturdays.
The poll was launched mid-Saturday after Ludlow Town Council agreed to support closing of King Street and High Street on Fridays and Saturdays to promote social distancing. It closed at 6pm tonight.
The closures will be a temporary measure, introduced by Shropshire Council at seven days’ notice. It will not subject to consultation until after the order is introduced. It can be withdrawn without notice and cannot be in place for more than 18 months.
There is a lot of support around the town for closing King Street. In the Narrows, we shuffle past each other. Squeeze in as buses and delivery vehicles pass us by. We queue outside Costa, not to have a coffee, but to get past a narrow corner without stepping out into the road. In normal times we can live with this. We have done so for decades. But the traffic has increased. Delivery vehicles are larger. SUVs are commonplace. And now we have social distancing to accommodate.
I have never understood the argument for closing High Street during Covid-19. Discussions with Shropshire Council had discussed a keep left system for pedestrians – opposite pavements. But not closure. We need High Street to ensure that light traffic can circulate around the town. With King Street closed High Street will see little traffic anyway.
We have also discussed designating Church Street one way – into town – and Market Street one way – out of town. But no action has been taken on this. The idea seems to have been forgotten. A one way pedestrian system cannot be enforced. It would offer guidance to residents, shoppers and visitors in our newly social distanced town.