This is welcome. Shropshire Council has announced that most car parks will be free over Christmas and the New Year. This will include Castle Street, Galdeford and Smithfield car parks in Ludlow. Free parking will be from 11am each day until 8am the next morning.

This move aims to attract more visitors into Shropshire’s towns after the second lockdown ends on 2 December. This is a crucial time for independent traders who have had a tough year. Similarly, pubs, cafes and restaurants desperately need a boost before towns like ours enter the quiet season between New Year and Easter.

We are looking forward to the end of lockdown. It will give shoppers and traders a break before Christmas and the New Year – and before a possible third lockdown. It will reduce the growing flight to shopping online. We can eat out once again. Being able to have a coffee or a glass of beer in a pub will improve our shopping trips, whether we are buying daily necessities or Christmas gifts. We don’t yet know what social distancing rules will apply and a relaxed Christmas could boost Covid-19 infection rates. There is a chance that the lockdown will continue throughout December.

But let’s look on the bright side.

Car parking will still apply between 8am and 11am each day to prevent car parks becoming clogged with workers and residents, rather than shopper and visitors. On-street car parking charges will remain as at present. People paying to park are encouraged to pay by app, text or phone using MiPermit, to avoid having to queue at or touch a pay and display machine.

There will be no refund or extensions on season and resident permits.

Linney Car Park is owned by Ludlow Town Council and is not part of this scheme.

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