Today Shropshire Council made the wrong decision. I fear it will damage trade in Ludlow over the next week.
This is Mayfair week. It is the greatest spectacle in town. I love the arrival of the rides on Wednesday afternoon and evening. For the biggest rides, it takes a good while to get through the chicane between the historic Buttercross and Bodenhams. People line the streets to watch. The fair brings excitement and life to the town and attracts thousands of visitors.
The problem we face this year is that Ludford Bridge will be closed.
We only heard on Friday that work on the bridge would not be completed in time for this bank holiday weekend. I asked for the bridge to be reopened for the fair but council officers have decided that they want to save money. They are saving that money at the expense of Ludlow’s trade.
Over Easter, we experienced gridlock in Ludlow with Ludford bridge closed. The buses were so delayed by congestion that the park and ride was at times reduced to one bus an hour.
The May bank holiday is one of the busiest weekends in the year in Ludlow. We are likely to see a big increase in traffic. Roads in the town centre will be closed for the fair. We need Ludford Bridge open to ensure a clear flow of vehicles.
To open the bridge for the weekend would require the scaffolding to be removed and put back. That would cost between £10K and £15K. This is cost that should be borne by the insurers of the driver that damaged the bridge. But Shropshire Council seems not to be in discussion with the insurers on the eventual bill. It is just guessing that the insurer will not pay up. There is no loss adjustment going on here. Above all, no one is considering the loss of business to local traders. If we can’t get people into this town, then we can’t trade.
I am really rather angry that yet again, Shropshire Council puts its budget first and Ludlow businesses second.
Ludford Bridge has been closed for two months. That’s far too long.