The new parking regime across Shropshire is not working well. The most urgent agenda is that we are seeing an impact on future bookings for accommodation in Ludlow. Holiday let and B&B owners are saying that they can’t let because the first question they ask is where can I park? The answer must be down by Tesco or Smithfield.
The view official view of Shropshire Council is that visitors must park one kilometre away if they rent premium holiday and B&B rents in our historic town centre.
On Wednesday, I will be asking Shropshire Council’s cabinet to review the permit regime in March, not in May as planned.
I will not ask for a review of on street charges. That is booked for November and that is the best time for it.
This is my question to Cabinet. Any feedback over the next couple of days will be useful.
Question to Cabinet on parking permit review
Unexpected problems have occurred with parking permit regimes. On 6 February, the Shropshire Star reported problems in Bridgnorth under the headline “‘Outrageous’ £373 rise for Bridgnorth parking permits under fire”. The newspaper reported Shropshire Council as promising an immediate review.
In Ludlow, the withdrawal of scratchcards has deterred visitors booking self-catering or B&B accommodation in the town. Visitors must park outside the town centre in Galdeford leaving them with a walk of up to a 1km to their residence. We have extensive feedback from accommodation owners that this is leading to a cancellation of bookings.
In a separate issue, the new TRO for residents parking in the Red Zone and Blue Zone is causing problems. It has not yet been implemented but will exclude many town centre residents from having a residents’ permit for parking in the zone in which they live. This is because permits are only available to residents in specifically identified properties drawn from a database of residences that seems to be decades out of date. The simplest approach of ensuring that the applicant household pays council tax at a Red of Blue Zone address has been ignored.
We need to keep the economy of small and distant market towns like Ludlow thriving.
Two reviews of the parking strategy are due. The main review will be in November when data on the impact of the new regime will be available for the full annual cycle. The first is in May.
Given the problems identified in Bridgnorth and Ludlow could the Cabinet bring the May review forward to March with a specific remit to look at the permit regime?