Shropshire Council is proposing a major overhaul of parking arrangements and charges across the county. I have said before that this scheme is wrong for our town and will damage trade.
Parking in Shropshire is a profitable business for the council. We need to ensure that whatever changes are approved for Ludlow, they are aimed at benefitting our town.
Although the consultation on parking changes poses a threat, it also creates an opportunity for us to reorganise our car parks and on street parking. This post looks at how we might use our off-street parking more efficiently, especially the Upper Galdeford car park.
This article focuses on the Upper Galdeford car park. I’ll write on Castle Street and Smithfield car parks tomorrow.
I am very concerned that Shropshire Council is proposing to end short term parking on the top deck of Upper Galdeford and at Castle Street. Residents and visitors will also be able to park in these car parks 24 hours a day, seven days a week for a fee that many can afford. This will lead to a steep reduction in turnover in the car parking spaces closest to shops, the GP surgeries and the Library. That will hit trade and make it harder for people to visit essential facilities.
Car parking spaces and costs
Ludlow has 581 off-street spaces in the three car parks operated by Shropshire Council. (This is 70 more spaces than the council says we have.)
The following are the current and proposed four-hour rates – the typical period that visitors and many others stay in our town.
The 329 space Upper Galdeford car park is spilt into two zones. Zone A is the upper level with 128 parking spaces (light blue on the map above). Zone B, the lower levels, has 201 spaces.
Under Shropshire Council’s proposals, Zone A will cost £0.50 an hour, Zone B £0.30. Casual parkers will be able to stay for as long as they like. Charging continue until 8pm in the evening, instead of 6pm at present. Residents will be offered season tickets for 24 hours, seven days a week. Or they will be able to buy a ticket for just weekends and overnight – from 4pm – during the week. Overnight parkers will get an extra hour free in the morning. Charging will begin at 9am not 8am as at present.
I am not particularly concerned about the hourly rates being proposed by Shropshire Council. Zone A will be cheaper. But I am opposed to allowing 24-hour parking in Zone A, either for visitors or residents. We need a constant turnover on the top level of the car park for visitors and shoppers, and for people going to the library or attending the two nearby GP surgeries.
My proposals are that we create 31 two-hour spaces on the south side of Upper Galdeford A in a convenient position for people visiting the GP surgeries, the Library and shops. Fourteen disabled bays would be available for a maximum of five hours. The remaining 84 spaces would be limited to four hours.
There is no practical way of restricting the two-hour spaces to patients and I don’t think we should do that. The faster turnover will make it easier for people who are unwell to find a space closer to their surgery.
We are examining the possibility of a pedestrian refuge in the middle of Station Drive between the car park and the Station Drive surgery. This will improve safety for patients and other pedestrians crossing the road.
I would welcome your comments on these proposals. I think the hourly charges that Shropshire Council is proposing for Upper Galdeford are about right. If anything, they are on the cheap side for Upper Galdeford A.
See also, my article on whether a multistorey car park should be built on Upper Galdeford B.
. Shropshire Council gives different figures for car park capacity: Upper Galdeford A, 167 spaces; Upper Galdeford B, 100; Castle Street, 143; Smithfield, 101. That’s a total of 511 spaces on the council’s calculation. That’s 70 short of my total from satellite photos and walking up and down the rows counting spaces. (Sometimes a councillor’s job is very boring!) The Linney car park is operated by Ludlow Town Council. It has no marked spaces but can take up to 40 well parked cars.
. The council wants to introduce ‘linear pricing’, jargon for car parking being charged at a constant hourly rate. This will replace the current arrangement where the effective hourly rate decreases the longer you stay. Car parks around the county have been divided into seven charging bands, with prices varying from free to £2.50 an hour. Motorists will get what they pay for. If they put £2 into a machine on a car park where the charge is £1.20 an hour, they will get 1 hour 40 minutes.
. Customers pay to use disabled bays in Shropshire Council’s car parks but can park one hour longer than other users.