Update 10 July 2018
The surface has been made good with temporary repairs and the car parking area has fully reopened. Now we need a long term plan for maintenance of this site.
Ludlow’s park and ride service is operating normally despite nearly half the parking area being closed with safety barriers. This follows serious damage to the surface earlier in the week. Yesterday afternoon, Shropshire Council erected barriers around the worst affected areas of the car park. But there is enough space for people to park today and the buses are serving the site as normal.
Yesterday afternoon, we heard that temporary repairs will be made on Monday. After this we must urgently look at long term maintenance of the park and ride site, which is falling apart.
This particular episode of damage occurred on Tuesday night. It is not an isolated incident. The park and ride site has been used by young people racing in their cars for years. I don’t understand the mentality. They bounce over kerbs as well as screeching and spinning around. Surely this does damage to cars? Who needs a pothole when you can wreck your car on a kerb for fun?
Every Monday morning, no matter what the weather, there is extensive litter from young people using the site as hang out. Fly-tipping is commonplace.
The worst affected areas were sealed off yesterday afternoon (44% of the parking area is now out of use on my calculation).
We are expecting temporary repairs to take place on Monday. This involves shovelling aggregate into the damaged areas. That makes them reasonably safe. But it doesn’t do much for the image of Ludlow as a premier visitor destination.
This is a neglected part of Shropshire Council’s estate. The “temporary” plastic park and ride surface installed a decade ago has never been upgraded. Ludlow’s park and ride is an embarrassment to Shropshire Council and the image of Ludlow.
If the temporary repairs are delayed, we will be short of parking spaces next week. This is peak tourist season.
One problem we face is that up to one hundred Eco Park employee’s cars use the public parking area during the week. None of them pay for parking. That means we don’t have a revenue stream to maintain the car park. Companies on the Eco Park have not taken up offers to buy extra land to create parking spaces for their staff. They have made no contribution to Shropshire Council for maintaining the car park their employees use.
We unitary councillors have argued that the park and ride should be brought within the remit of the countywide parking policies. That means charges for everyone who parks. That’s hardly going to be popular with Eco Park employees. But it must happen to ensure there a is safe place for visitors to the town to park. Our proposal is that visitors should buy a ticket to park but would get a discount on the bus fare into town.
There is a presumption against barriers at the entrance to car parks, mainly due to the cost of on-call maintenance for when they break down. The modern approach is also moving away from paper tickets. People either type their registration into a machine or use their mobile phones to pay.
If a system like this is installed at the Eco Park, it won’t stop antisocial behaviour. For that we need real CCTV. The cameras at the Eco Park are just dummies. They have always been dummies. The young racers know that. The police seem disinterested. As does the estates department of Shropshire Council.
We councillors don’t expect a solution to these problems anytime soon. This is not Shrewsbury. But we urgently need a solution for the sake of the economy of our rural market town.