Want a parking ticket? I know the perfect place for you to park in Ludlow

There has been quite a hullabaloo over parking in Ludlow of late. More than 200 fines have been issued after six in the evening during the last few months.

There is no doubt that we have problems with parking in the town centre that we need to address. Parking on pavements and in disabled bays without a legitimate blue badge are commonplace offences in Ludlow that I find particularly heinous. Blocking the entrance to Quality Square is another – we must keep this clear for 999 access.

For the most part, it’s obvious where you can and can’t park. But there is one place where people think they can park and they are getting fined week in, week out.

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Parking enforcement to continue in Ludlow but new deal in in sight

This parking crackdown has split the town. People should park legally and in a way that doesn’t block access to town centre properties. But there also needs to be a bit of give and take, especially as restricted parking areas in the centre of Ludlow are so poorly marked.

Officers have enforced parking restrictions where they are clear lines and signage. They have then gone on to slap penalty notices on cars where the lines are all but invisible. They assume a degree of technical knowledge about where and when you can park in our town. Most residents don’t have that knowledge. Tourists must find our badly signposted parking restrictions bewildering.

Work to repaint lines around the town centre and improve signage was requested two years ago. As part of a new deal to sort out Ludlow parking, the council’s contractors are due to paint the lines next Tuesday. This action has only come about because the huge anger generated by the parking clampdown. It is wrong that there needs to be a public row before Shropshire Council fulfils its statutory of clearly marking where people can and can’t park.

Shropshire Council hasn’t got this one right. It should have consulted with the town council and businesses about how to improve the signs and lines around the town centre. After that, it its first task should have been to repaint lines and provide clear information on where people can park. We councillors could then have worked hard to ensure that people were aware of what the rules are.

After a meeting in Craven Arms on Tuesday, we now have an agreement that Shropshire Council’s enforcement team will work with local councillors before any future crackdown. That will allow local councils and councillors to raise issues. That is the right way to approach the complex issue of parking enforcement in a historic town like ours.

Meanwhile, the current evening enforcement in Ludlow is set to continue. I don’t agree with that. The crackdown in Ludlow should be halted until it is absolutely clear that people know where and when they can park.

Notes

Shropshire Council issued 1,183 parking tickets in Ludlow during the first eight months of this year. Most fines are slapped on vehicles between 11am and 3pm; 188 (14%) were issued after 6pm as part of the evening parking clampdown. The top misdemeanours are parking in loading bays (27%) and on yellow lines (13% during the day, rising to 55% after 6pm). Parking in residents’ zones accounts for 12% of fines and abuse of disabled bays 10%. More than one in ten fines were issued for parking after the ticket expired. Nearly a quarter of all fines were issued in the town’s car parks (24%).

“Silly Season” arrives in Ludlow as Shropshire Council issues parking fines and then says challenge them

The media have named this time of the year the “silly season”. The Westminster political types have jetted away on their holidays, leaving newspapers with column inches to fill and broadcasters facing empty slots. The Olympics has spewed out stories over the last two weeks but now, even sporting stories are just about stretched to their limit.

Mind you, Heather Wheeler MP for South Derbyshire has declared that the British Empire had won the Olympics. That’s true silly season stuff. Congratulations also to Edinburgh for coming up with a story about a knighted penguin, which is also a brigadier. And continuing the Scottish theme, the Telegraph reports that playing the bagpipes can be fatal. The article doesn’t mention that listening to bagpipes can be fatal too.

Shropshire Council, not to be outdone, has come up with a true silly season story just for us here in Ludlow. It is issuing parking tickets and then inviting people to challenge them.

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Councillors call for a halt to Ludlow night time parking crackdown pending review

Ludlow unitary councillors are calling for an immediate suspension of the night time crackdown on parked vehicles in Ludlow town centre. Since the 5 July 2016, Shropshire Council’s civil enforcement officers have issued more than one hundred penalty charge notices (PCNs) after 6pm. The crackdown has caught offenders blocking access. We welcome that. But it has also penalised tourists who are not sure where to park and residents who have parked at the same location in the town centre for years. This heavy hand approach, initiated without any discussion with local representatives, is in danger of damaging the evening economy of the town.

The councillors, Andy Boddington, Tracey Huffer and Vivienne Parry, a calling for a halt to the current enforcement campaign, except where people are parking dangerously or impeding disabled access.

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Are we slapping too many parking fines on vehicles in Ludlow? We need your vote ahead of council meeting Wednesday

Are we getting too many parking fines in Ludlow? This is your opportunity to comment and vote.

We councillors have received a number of complaints about fines slapped on cars parking around the Market Square area in the evening. There have been early morning fines too.

Ludlow pub landlord, Adam Tutt, recently had a rage on Facebook about the fines:

Two parking tickets this week one at 10 am Sunday outside my house the other in a loading bay whilst dealing with issue at work. Its profiteering clear and simple creeping around at night stopping people working or relaxing in town!

On the other side of the debate, people tell us that bad parking is creating problems for access to properties.

What do you think? Please comment and vote below.

Continue reading “Are we slapping too many parking fines on vehicles in Ludlow? We need your vote ahead of council meeting Wednesday”