Shropshire Council’s chaotic scrutiny meeting ignored the 18% downturn in trade since parking charges were hiked in Ludlow

On 5 June, the Performance Management Scrutiny Committee met to discuss the controversial changes to parking charges. Committee papers were sent out just 26 hours before. I doubt that all committee members had read all ten documents. Officers also sprung a huge amount of crammed onto overcrowded slides on a hard to see screen. I am not convinced that any member of the committee was adequately briefed for the decisions they were to make. Certainly not the chair of the committee who was unaware that officers had proposed a series of recommendations.

The committee and officers seemed to be oblivious to the evidence gathered by Ludlow Town Council that shows independent trade is down by 18% in the first few months of this year compared to last year despite the milder weather.  

The committee agreed to review the extent of the Red and Blue Zones. Residents with on-street permits will be able to park in car parks and may also be able to apply for a second permit. Owners of a holiday let will be able to apply for an on-street parking permit for guests. Tickets purchased on a phone will be 10p cheaper.

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Shropshire Council to review damaging parking charges next Wednesday – will it listen?

There is no longer any doubt that the parking regime introduced last November is damaging Ludlow’s independent traders. Ludlow Mayor Tim Gill told BBC Radio Shropshire last week that trade was down 13% before Christmas and 16% after Christmas. This was despite the mild winter. Roger Curry, owner of Bodenhams, told the station the new charges mean that people are always in a rush and don’t linger long enough to spend money (begins at 1:47).

These comments come ahead of a review of the parking regime imposed on our town by Shropshire Council last November. That regime increased on-street parking charges in the town centre to £1.80 an hour and the charge in Castle Street car park to £1.00 an hour. The pop and shop concession was reduced to from fifteen to five minutes. Charges on the Linney and Coronation Avenue substantially increased.

Next Wednesday, 5 June, a Shropshire Council committee will conduct the first review of the charges. Please let me know any additional comments you have before then.

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Shropshire Council blocks early review of Ludlow parking permits – that will damage local businesses

I attended Shropshire Council cabinet yesterday morning to press the case for the review of the new parking regime due in May to be brought forward to March. This was refused outright. This means that any changes will not be implemented until mid-summer, if not later. But people are struggling right now with the new regime. Visitors who want to book a self-catering apartment or a B&B room are being put off by having to park up to one kilometre away.

We need the economy of our town to thrive. Parking is part of our economic package. But Shropshire Council doesn’t understand that. It doesn’t mention trade and the economy at all in its response to my question.

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I am calling for an immediate review of parking permits in Ludlow and across the county

The new parking regime across Shropshire is not working well. The most urgent agenda is that we are seeing an impact on future bookings for accommodation in Ludlow. Holiday let and B&B owners are saying that they can’t let because the first question they ask is where can I park? The answer must be down by Tesco or Smithfield.

The view official view of Shropshire Council is that visitors must park one kilometre away if they rent premium holiday and B&B rents in our historic town centre.

On Wednesday, I will be asking Shropshire Council’s cabinet to review the permit regime in March, not in May as planned. 

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Shropshire Council’s zero tolerance policy on parking threatens the high streets of market towns like Ludlow

There a chill in the air in Ludlow and it is not just the winter weather. Parking enforcement officers seem to be in town most days and some evenings.

Window cleaners, couriers, deliveries to pubs, local businesses delivering beds, craftsmen working on buildings. All are fair game to Shropshire Council as it clamps down harder than before on technical parking offences. Parking officers are giving no leeway. They are chilling our town’s atmosphere.

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