In a meeting this morning, we agreed to put in place immediate measures to try and ease some of the problems created by the emergency closure of King Street. That closure followed significant damage to the Grade-I listed Buttercross by a late night truck.
New signs are being put in place to ensure traffic using the official diversion over Whitcliffe do not turn left onto Linney. The signs will direct town centre traffic from Dinham Bridge up Dinham.
At the other end of Linney, traffic from Corve Street will be discouraged by signs that say no diverted traffic, residents only.
Given the damage to historic walls in Linney by lost or confused truck drivers in recent days, satnav instructions have been updated.
When King Street was closed 24×7 after damage to the Buttercross by a wayward truck, we immediately set up an emergency working group of Shropshire Council and Ludlow Town Council officers and councillors. I described the closure as an enforced experiment on the long term closure of King Street.
We have now seen both foreseen and unforeseen consequences of the closure. It was always expected that more traffic would be diverted through the Broadgate and also onto Linney. There would inevitably be more traffic over Whitcliffe, the official diversion, despite the hazards of the hairpin bend and the risk of grounding for large vehicles.
More traffic has made its way over Whitcliffe than expected, including some large vehicles. Some of these turned left having crossed Dinham Bridge onto Linney. Other truck drivers were using Linney from the opposite direction. A couple of these truck drivers were clearly not in control of their vehicles and damaged walls at Linney House and St Leonard’s Cottage.
Yesterday, we held a street meeting in St Leonard’s Churchyard. Around twenty residents from the Linney area attended.
The main concerns of that meeting formed the agenda of the emergency working group this morning. This group was scrambled together after the Buttercross was hit. Ludlow Town Council immediately sought professional advice. The structural surveyor recommended that King Street should be closed to prevent further damage and the road was duly closed.
At this morning’s meeting, we agreed new Linney signage. A move that may have more impact on confused truck drivers is a change to satnav instructions. Linney is now shown as closed except for residents. These moves won’t solve the entire problem with traffic on Linney, especially if truck drivers don’t have up to date satnav. But I hope these measures will help.
We are also going to ease the situation with funerals at St Laurence’s. Currently hearses cannot get near the church and coffins would need to be carried from Broad Street. From tomorrow, funeral directors will be allowed to enter King Street via the Bull Ring and exit passing the Buttercross. This will ensure that dignity can be maintained in difficult times. Barriers will be moved and replaced immediately to prevent other traffic entering King Street.
We were expecting an update from Ludlow Town Council on the timetable for repair of the Buttercross this morning. It was not available. All we know currently is that repairs will be as soon as possible. It is our aim to open King Street as soon as the repairs are complete.
There are more matters to deal with on the closure and reopening of King Street. I’ll publish more information as soon as I have it.