One of the ambitions of local cycling and walking infrastructure plans is to reduce traffic in residential neighbourhoods. Shropshire Council has suggested three low traffic neighbourhoods for Ludlow:
- St Julians Avenue and Livesey Road
- Steventon New Road
- Temeside between Weeping Cross and Steventon New Road.
It has also floated the idea of closing Foldgate Lane to make it a cycle and equestrian route (not walking?).
The obvious low traffic neighbourhood missing from LCWIP is Lower Corve Street. Although being access only, around 1,000 vehicles a day drive along Lower Corve Street. Most drivers are using it as a short cut.
We need a serious discussion about these proposals. Restricting through traffic on St Julians Avenue and Livesey Road will displace traffic onto the narrower St Julians Road and onto Sandpits Road past the school.
Low traffic neighbourhoods aim to reduce through traffic and rat running, such as we see every day on Lower Corve Street. They also reduce neighbourhood noise and air pollution. Measures might include cycle lanes, wider pavements, bollards and planters to reduce the number of motor vehicles. ANPR Cameras are sometimes also used. Shropshire Council gained the powers to enforce moving traffic offences, including using ANPR, this week.
A related concept to low traffic neighbourhoods is the 15-minute neighbourhood. In these, traffic is discouraged. Daily services such as shops are within a 15-minute distance. Ludlow fits naturally into this concept. Most of the population is within a 25-minute walk for the town centre, the main area for services.
We also have three local centres with a range of services:
- East Hamlet: Convenience store, takeaway, café and health and wellbeing.
- Rocks Green: supermarket and pub.
- Foldgate Lane: supermarket, pub, pet store and bakery.
These are all within natural 15-minute neighbourhoods.
There is smaller retail area on Parys Lane, which includes a shop (general and butchers) and two take-aways.
Neighbourhood centres should not have been ignored in the Ludlow LCWIP. Many of us do not go into the town centre every day. We shop locally and visit local hospitality venues. We work locally. The omission of neighbourhood centres limits our ability to understand how best to manage traffic and walking and cycling in the town.
There is much to debate on this. Regrettably, Shropshire Council does not have clarity on its strategy for improving walking and cycling, or for that matter disability travel, across the county.
LCWIP is strongly supported by the deputy council leader and portfolio holder for climate change, environment and transport, Ian Nellins. The portfolio for highways, Richard Marshall takes a different view and spits bile about against the concept of ideas such as 15-minute neighbourhoods. He believes the aim is to create “15-minute colonies… Our children will never have to experience or embrace different cultures through world travel, as they will never leave their micro colony.”
He continues: “I believe this is the start of banning personal cars and extensive travel out of the 15 minute colony.”
I don’t know where Councillor Marsh gets his ideas from but he is spouting nonsense.
Gwilym Butler, the portfolio holder for finance has refused to allocate a dedicated budget line for walking and cycling next year. There is a sense of Shropshire Council going through an exercise without the political will to deliver the results.
The Ludlow Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan has good ideas and some that will not work. We need to work hard to get the ideas right and ensure they are delivered.
This is one of a series of articles on the Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan for Ludlow. More articles to come.