Justin Welby will be visiting Ludlow and holding a gathering St Laurence’s church on Tuesday 15 October. A road closure notice has been put in place at short notice for King Street between 9.15am and 10.30am. The closure could be in place for longer if necessary for public safety. Town workers should arrive early as the Broadgate is also scheduled to be closed that day (though I have asked for that to be lifted). Hundreds of cars are expected so there may be traffic jams, along with crowded park and ride buses.
The Bishop of Hereford has invited the 439 churches in the diocese to send a car load of people to welcome and hear the Archbishop. The diocese is expecting between 400 and 500 cars carrying worshippers from around the diocese to descend into Ludlow in time for the Archbishop’s arrival at around 10.05am. Between 1,200 and 2,000 people are expected to begin arriving in town from around 8.30am.
This will stretch road and carparking capacity in Ludlow to the limit. My estimate is that there will be at best 400 car parking spaces at most available in the three town centre car parks, on-street in Zone A, and at the Eco Park park and ride, after allowing for residents, workers and casual visitors. I am urging the church to encourage worshippers to come by train and bus, or use the park and ride. I am not sure why it hasn’t organised a fleet of coaches and minibuses to reduce the traffic and environmental impact of the visit.
Lower Broad Street is also closed on 15 October for long standing STW works. The two road closures will lead to chaos. I have asked STW to move their work to another day to allow access via the Broadgate for light traffic that might usually use King Street. New Street will also have two-way traffic lights that week for STW works. I don’t think we need to reschedule these.
We only had notice of this visit last Thursday. Everyone is now working hard to ensure that the Archbishop doesn’t get held up in Ludlow’s biggest traffic jam since the bypass was built.
I am sure this will be a great occasion. I hope that worshippers will not rush off afterwards. There are many fine places in Ludlow to eat, drink, shop and enjoy.