It always concerns me when we have complaints about noise in the town centre. People generally deserve a quiet life. But some people seem to have moved here thinking the town centre is a quiet, sleepy place. Town centres that are quiet and sleepy are senile and they are at the edge of survival. They lose shops, they lose footfall and lose more shops in an ever declining vortex. Eventually all that is left are the charity shops, a pub or two and some downbeat cafes. You can see that fate in town centres across the country.

That’s not Ludlow which still has a thriving town centre. Full of good shops and venues to eat and drink. We must ensure that the town centre continues to thrive, including by hosting entertainment.  

The starting point for this article is an agenda item to be discussed at Ludlow Town Council’s meeting tomorrow. The council is proposing advice to event organisers and a ban on amplified music on Events Square. I would have thought all of this could be sorted out by discussions with event organisers rather than a full council debate. The council paper is ill thought through and should be binned by councillors when it meets on tomorrow night.

The paper before the council comes after complaints from some businesses and one town centre resident. Unlike most town councils across the country and many parish councils, Ludlow Town Council does not publish its meeting papers, only the agenda. That’s a significant democratic failure that I hope it will correct. But as it is not published, I copy the resident’s complaint in full at the end of this article.

Council officers are proposing:

That all festivals are contacted and asked to be respectful to the needs of the residents and local businesses, and to clear up after their event.

That’s fine but it hardly needs a council resolution for something that is usually a matter for officers.

If the town council has to clean up after festivals there will be a charge levied.

Again, fine. A fine does need council approval. But there is no indication of the penalty charge. The council does not have authority to issue a fixed penalty notice but it should make clear the scales of charges.

That the town council asks the 10k organisers to be respectful of nearby residents and not to disturb them with their public address system, and not play music during their event.

This is nonsense. Runners want to be hyped up before they run. How will they hear announcements? And what is wrong with music when voices are allowed? This a dangerous route for the council to take. It is asking race organisers to whisper. No other town in this country has imposed such an unenforceable and nonsensible ban.

That the 10k organisers are asked to hold their event at a less commercially sensitive time for the eateries of Ludlow.

This means that the town council is asking the race to run between 11pm and 8am. What nonsense. The complaining resident will be even more annoyed. Either the race is allowed in the town centre or not.

If buskers or performing groups are granted permission to perform on Events Square under the permitting system, they are limited to a maximum duration of one hour. The performances must be acoustic and not amplified.

There is a lack of clarity in this proposed regulation. If a band or other group is only allowed one hour, can another immediately follow it? Although I prefer music that is not amplified in a busy market area, with constant traffic quiet musicians will not be heard. And the ban seems to extend to preventing singers using a mike. That’s daft. For many years before the pandemic, Sunshine Radio hosted the Christmas lights switch on with blaring music. The council is proposing to ban that.

This is an overreaction from the town council. Talking to event organisers would solve most issues. But it is trying to clamp down on events in the town centre on the basis of a few complaints. Town centres need to thrive. It is a core responsibility of the town council to ensure the town centre thrives. It is not going the right way about it by trying to stifle entertainment and events in the town centre.

If the town council take the fun out of the town centre, Ludlow town centre will surely die like so many others.

The resident’s letter

I write again in despair over the noise we in the town centre are subjected to. We have had the Fringe, which must be the longest in the country, for three weeks. Every weekend and most weekdays we have ‘noise’ from the Square.

Last night was the 10k run, Dinham is closed to traffic for three hours, that is a bore but not insurmountable. But trying to have a quiet drink in the garden with friends is not possible, we had to move indoors. The megaphone boomed, unbearably loud if you were nearby and unintelligible if you were further away. The music was not too loud, but do they have to have music at all? I went to watch the Hackney Half this year, and they manage to have 15,000 runners without any booming megaphones.

Today ‘music’ again – audible in the house and extremely loud in the garden. A piercing penny whistle plus others, with speakers. Half a dozen people watching.

I think a lot of us feel that we are completely overlooked by the Town Council, no one has ever asked if we mind the Hurdy Gurdy machine playing endlessly, or some other random busker assaulting our ears constantly. At least the Pan Pipes seem to have disappeared. Maybe buskers should have a time limit on their pitch.

I am not a spoilsport, and I love culture and festivals. But I think residents have rights to quiet enjoyment of their properties. And don’t tell me ‘you can always go away during the festival’ as one participant told me.

5 thought on “Ludlow Town Council to tighten rules after complaints about noise in the town centre”
  1. I suspect this particular resident is out to get rid of the May Fair and Church Bells as well. Methinks he doth protest too much. He is a misanthrope killjoy. Should the Council act on the complaint of this ONE resident it will be an appalling abuse of their powers.
    The events he moans about are the lifeblood of our town. It is what makes the Town Centre a great place to live and why I moved here.
    If he wants peace and quiet there are plenty of places well away from human activity where he could go and leave the rest of us to enjoy it.

  2. Only one resident complains and the council springs into action! Ludicrous.
    And businesses – particularly pubs and restaurants – must benefit hugely from the people attracted by the 10k. Don’t drive events from the town or, as you say, the town will die.

  3. Ludlow must already be one of the quietest town centres. I think back to my younger years when people from local villages came to the town to enjoy their weekend evening’s. Unfortunately, the town is much quieter these days as other towns and even villages offer a more entertaining choice.
    It would be short sighted and totally unfair on the majority of the council go ahead and act on a complaint from an individual who it seems would be happy to see the town slip into the silence that would undoubtedly follow.

  4. One resident complains and the TC springs into action, dozens of objections to the Golden Moments closure and they do naff all.

    Tell the miserable soul to move to a miserable cul de sac or Leominster and leave the town centre to people who can cope with the life it should have.

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