Councillors reject charges for A-Boards and call for local enforcement of pavement hazards

Shropshire Council has been flirting with plans to licence every A-Board in the county. Those ideas didn’t get through the Place Overview Committee yesterday. Everyone agreed that a licencing and charging scheme was the wrong approach. Instead, the committee asked officers to work with local councillors and communities to draw up clearer guidance on where A-Boards can be placed to ensure safety of pavement users, including those with limited mobility and visual impairment.

We agreed it would more effective for responsibility for “policing” of A-Boards should be devolved from Shropshire Council to town councils.

This is good news. Shropshire Council should not overregulate and we should manage the day-to-day business of the town ourselves.

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Ludlow is a town of one hundred A-Boards – should we make retailers pay for using the pavement like Liverpool?

A-Boards can be a hazard to the blind and partially sighted. They can be a problem for families with child buggies. But they are also essential for local businesses, many of which are on side alleys or not immediately in sight.

For the best part of a decade, we have endured a debate between “Love A-Boards” and “Hate A-Boards” in Ludlow. That debate could be moving towards an end after a Shropshire Council meeting next Friday.

I walked around the town centre yesterday and counted 98 A-Boards – 74 were on the public highway and 24 on private land. The debate is now on whether this is right for our town. The urgency of the debate is driven by Shropshire Council’s wish to regulate all A-Boards in the county and to charge retailers for the privilege of putting the signs on the highway. What the council is proposing comes across as overregulation.

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Business rate relief good news for Ludlow and Shropshire’s market towns

Chancellor Philip Hammond yesterday afternoon announced a significant but temporary reduction in business rates for smaller retail businesses.

This is good news for market towns like Ludlow. For the next two years, the Chancellor’s statement will reduce crippling business rate bills by around £500,000 over the next two years in Ludlow. We are a town with more than 70 independent retailers. That money will help local businesses survive. It will be pumped back into Ludlow’s economy.

The news of a tax on digital retailers is also good news. Our high streets are not in competition with the internet giants but they should not be left at a disadvantage because of the business rate burden they face.

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Tesco bashes Ludlow town centre on way from Bridgend to Pontefract to deliver cakes

The damage to the historic fabric of Ludlow is almost as old as the buildings themselves. The damage has got worse over the years as permitted lengths and weights for HGVs have increased. But if you want to get Cakes to Pontefract, a current Tesco slogan, the best way to do it is through the centre of Ludlow. That moving advert for Tesco has slightly damaged a bollard with more significant damage to the truck.

I am lost for words here. Tesco has been a world leader in gathering computerising information on customer habits. It ensures its shelves are restocked the moment they empty. But it seems they don’t know where their stores are. Satnav anyone? A paper map? Or perhaps a Tesco mobile phone will help.

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Former Budgens store in Ludlow is now an eyesore

The former Budgens Store on Upper Galdeford has been for sale for several months. In the last couple of days, it has been boarded up with OSB sheets. The contractors tell me there are no plans to paint the boarding. It is an utter eyesore and makes this part for the town centre look like a rundown inner city district. The boarding is also an open invitation to fly-posting and graffiti.

If it is to remain boarded up, it should be painted as a giant mural.

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