A new location for two electric vehicle (EV) charging points each serving two vehicles on Mill Street will be discussed by Ludlow Town Council tonight (Wednesday). The charging provision is designed for residents but will also be used by visitors, especially those that come for overnight stays. Update. The town council has agreed to the proposals.
The proposed new location for the EV charging bays will be outside the Blue Boar. To make space, the motorcycle parking will move downhill a short distance. Two of the charging bays will be for disabled drivers, and two for allcomers for whom the usual parking charges will apply.
The EV installation will be funded by a government grant. It is essential that the EV charging points are installed before April, otherwise the grant will be lost and Ludlow will be left behind. That will disadvantage town centre residents and businesses that draw on the visitor economy.
It would be an understatement to say the original proposal for a site lower in Mill Street was controversial. Residents weren’t directly notified and my newsletter was taking a break. But the reaction to that modest scheme for charging points opposite Bell Lane was surprising. Some town councillors angrily rejected arguments from those that oppose the scheme. A number of residents argued that the charging points will increase traffic on Mill Street, lead to queuing traffic for the charging points. The charging points will damage the conservation area. Some argued that charging points should only be in the car parks for the time being. One told the town council there would be nowhere for his gardener to park.
I can’t agree with these arguments. These are residential charging points and need to be on the street. Residents of Mill Street with electric cars should not have to walk from Galdeford Car Park to their homes. Neither should those staying in town in holiday accommodation or hotels.
Power supply issues limit where we can put EV charging points. Castle Street Car Park is not suitable due to power supply issues. The top of Galdeford Car Park has adequate power supply as does Smithfield Car Park. The bottom of Galdeford Car Park does not have a power supply.
Just a few years ago, B&B and holiday accommodation owners in the town centre, including on Mill Street, were arguing that they needed permits for their guests who wanted to park close to their accommodation not in a car park. They were saying bookings were being lost because guests could could not park near the accommodation. I agreed and as a result, Shropshire Council’s parking regime was widened to include permits for guests. Some of those guests will now be driving electric vehicles and there will be more guests driving electric in the future. If we don’t have EV charging points on the streets in the town centre visitors arriving in electric vehicles will need to park several hundred metres away. That’s a hard sales pitch for a town that attracts many older visitors. They will go elsewhere.
In the longer term, Smithfield should become the main EV charging hub for Ludlow including for buses. There must be EV charging on the Eco Park also though this will not be suitable for buses and will only be used by visitors. We need EV charging everywhere. Many streets in Ludlow will have electric vehicles but lack places to charge them. We need to tackle that and provide on-street supply across the town.
There are those that doubt that electric vehicles will replace the petrol and diesel vehicles. The reality is that the transformation is underway.
We should not treat those who need EV charging points as second class citizens or less worthy visitors. Ludlow cannot be behind the times.