Ludlow Town Council and Shropshire Council are investigating a scheme to restrict parking in the Market Square and Castle Square. The restricted zone would also cover Harp Lane, Church Street and College Street. It would operate seven days a week, either between 7am and 7pm or for 24 hours. The proposals follow complaints about inconsiderate parking by car and van drivers, and motorcyclists. Ludlow Town Council says: “Visitors are getting a poor impression of our beautiful town!”
The consultation follows complaints from town centre residents, organisations and businesses about hazardous and inconsiderate parking on Castle Square and Market Square. The councils say that residents are being blocked in. Access for ambulance and fire engines is being blocked. Visitors cannot use the benches. They complain that festivals, cultural events and street trading are being disrupted.
It is a long list of complaints which is in danger of leading to an overly heavy handed response.
The councils are now consulting “all town centre users”, which in my view is pretty much the whole town, as well as visitors, shoppers and motorcyclists.
This consultation is being carried out without considering the bigger picture of changes in parking across the town centre. Parking on-street in Red Zone the will be charged until 8pm, at a rate of £1.80 an hour. Castle Street car park will be free after 6pm but will become long stay. It will cost £1 an hour. Market trader’s vans will no longer get a concessionary rate in the Castle Street car park. The cost of on street permits for construction workers will increase. Pop and shop will be reduced to five minutes.
The councils point out that car parks are free of charge from 6pm daily.
Under the “Aims & Principles for Restricted Parking Zone”, the council say there will be “allocated space for motorcyclists in the centre of town” but no details are given. One trader told me:
“Last weekend demonstrated the disadvantage of restricting motorcycle parking as there were no motorcycles parked on the Castle Square. The motorcyclists usually spend a lot of money in town. All the businesses that I asked said takings from motorcyclists were well down. There were no proposals for motorcycle parking in the survey, just an airy fairy reference to thinking about it. If they are made to feel unwelcome they will go somewhere else. If the market doesn’t make money it will close. As it is it is an asset and brings lots of visitors who enjoy a traditional market in front of the castle.”
The truth is that the only way to create more motorcycle spaces is to take out car parking or disable bays.
I have no problems with parking restrictions on Market Square and Castle Square. We unitary councillors have been calling for a scheme to be put in place for years. We have been particularly concerned about parked vehicles blocking or restricting access to Quality Square. So, I am not against these proposals in principle. But I don’t think this scheme is well enough thought through. It is not joined up with other changes happening in the town.
I’d encourage everyone to respond to this consultation.