Introducing a Movement Strategy for Ludlow

Over the last couple of months, we have been discussing proposals put forward by Shropshire Council for walking and cycling in Ludlow. This was an uneasy process based on a technical report known as LCWIP. We saw a lot of controversy, even anger, about proposals for improving walking and cycling around Ludlow. Proposals to reduce traffic have too often been rebuffed with vitriolic comments, including claims that the proposals are part of plans to restrict people’s freedom of movement. They are nothing of the sort. We do need to reduce congestion in the town centre but not necessarily in the way that Shropshire Council is proposing.

Rather than response directly to the LCWIP consultation, I decided it is time we had a movement strategy for our town. That would then the basis for responding to LCWIP.

I have examined all the LCWIP proposals, there are nearly fifty. I have also put forward nearly fifty new proposals, many of which were suggested by others, including councillors. This is published today as a Movement Strategy for Ludlow.

Masterplan of proposals for Ludlow (see report for key)

The movement strategy has its origins in pre-pandemic days when I was talking about developing a Ludlow Sustainable Transport Strategy. This project was stalled by the pandemic during which I wrote nearly 200 articles about coronavirus, efforts to combat the virus and the impact the lockdowns were having on Ludlow. Once life began to return to normal, I looked at various ways to relaunch the project. Then the Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP) came along. LCWIP isn’t a sustainable transport strategy for Ludlow by a long way. It suggests ways of reducing traffic in the town centre but they are not well explained and some are unacceptable.

You can’t improve walking and cycling in Ludlow without considering buses and their passengers, and the needs of drivers, especially those that are disabled.

The Movement Strategy for Ludlow I publish today is not just about the town centre. We must also look at improving residential streets and rural lanes. There are dozens of places where we can improve walking with better pavements, better signposting of routes, better lighting and having more regard for disabled people.

We need to encourage cycling with more cycle lanes where we have space to accommodate them in our often narrow and crowded streets.

Ludlow Town Council voted in 2017 to bring in a 20mph limit on residential streets to make roads safer, and less threatening to pedestrians and cyclists. Nothing has happened since. The town council’s policy is not mentioned in the LCWIP report. I make that proposal again in a Movement Strategy for Ludlow.

It is unacceptable that 44 tonne trucks can drive along King Street even when it is crowded out with pedestrians. We need to restrict the weight of vehicles coming into the town centre to 7.5 tonnes or 10 tonnes during peak hours. It is very difficult for drivers to negotiate the narrows on King Street when it is packed with pedestrians. People, including many who are disabled, are forced to squeeze into shop doorways because the pavements are as narrow as 90cm in places. I am also proposing an experimental ban on all vehicles using King Street except buses and taxis between 11am and 4pm on Saturdays.

There is a constant complaint that the shops and market will die if traffic is restricted in the town. Shrewsbury has extended its town centre traffic closures at weekends. Footfall has increased.

In a small town like Ludlow, which is a major visitor destination, we can’t reduce cars without improving bus services. We need a dedicated park and ride service at peak times running direct from the Eco Park to the town centre every 20 minutes.

We need new electric buses to reduce air pollution in the town centre. The new buses must be narrower including by using video rear mirrors.

Nothing will happen to improve our town if we don’t have a Movement Strategy for Ludlow. We must plan for the future of our town as others are doing.

Some residents and businesses seem to prefer no change. I take a different view. I think the residents of Ludlow, those that come to enjoy our historic town and those that want to spend money here deserve better.

This town has sometimes staggered on. Making do. In fear of change. We can’t continue to do that. The retail market has changed. Out of town shopping arrived in Ludlow with Sainsbury’s, which will perhaps soon be joined by M&S Food.

Making Ludlow a more pleasant place to visit, walk, cycle and shop with a Movement Strategy is just the start of what we need to do.

Read a Movement Strategy for Ludlow.

9 comments on Introducing a Movement Strategy for Ludlow

  1. 1. The public has a love affair with their cars. Very few will take advantage of a park and ride, especially those struggling with bags of shopping et al.
    2. Cyclists bring nothing to the life or income of Ludlow. They are either just out for a ride and a coffee. Very few are locals coming into town on their bikes to shop.
    3. It is almost impossible do do 20 mph around town now. There is little if no evidence/complaints of speeding vehicles and there are no enforcement agencies that could/would enforce anyway. There are no accident stats to show that a reduction in speed limits would be an effective deterrent- None is needed.
    4. There are many roads in Ludlow where traffic flow is flawed and dangers lurk. Galdeford etc, should be subject to double yellow lines and vigorous parking enforcement. Where the residents would park is another matter !
    5. Walking thru the town will always be hazardous. If a ban on hgv’s during certain hours was imposed that would help greatly, viz: Kendal, Cumbria where they were restricted which greatly improved traffic flow etc.
    6. If the powers that be cannot even clean the streets and walkways, which would be a start, how can the money be available for such grandiose schemes.
    7. Until powers are devolved to the town council, we will always play second – fiddle. This is tinkering by the county council on a grand scale.

    1. Re cyclists: I quite often cycle into Ludlow, for small items of shopping. Motorists regularly block the front of queues at lights which is reserved for cyclists. Parking of a bike, safely, is frequently not easy. Tesco has some space for bikes, but it’s not ideal. Encouraging cycling will attract more cyclists, thus reducing use of cars. I totally disagree with ‘cyclists bring nothing to the life or income of Ludlow’.

  2. one might note,that the size of lorries has recently increased, one might also note ludlow has no cheap mobility scooters available for hire unlike leominster which does(for a small donation)
    I wonder if consideration has been given to the thought of a land train, in some seaside towns this has created a more pleasant addition to the travel to and from town centers. Perhaps also the banning of deliveres at certain times of night or day might also relieve some traffic problems

    just thoughts i imagine the powers that be would have considered all options

  3. It’s great to see some really sensible proposals, Andy. In favour of anything which opens up safe access of bikes into Ludlow town centre and more cycle/walking routes around the edge of Ludlow.

  4. Have just read Andy Boddington’s strategy. Have I missed something or is there little/no real detail. On balance it is largely positive and I would like to see a strategy bought wholly under the absolute control of local politicians and not Shropshire Council demi gods. A.B. you talk about park and ride facilities. I don’t altogether disagree, but, I think, there should be more than one. What about using public land e.g. the school car park on the Bromfield Road at weekends and school holidays and in the evenings for park and ride. Also there should be updates to security to the existing one and the service timetable should be extended. Why is the motorist penalised in favour of cyclists? You talk about the difficulties caused by narrow roads in Ludlow when trying to accommodate cyclists and motorists. True, but if anyone needs to have a less convenient route into town why not cyclists. Anyway if your wish comes true and everyone abandons the car for a bike, you will need somewhere for them to be parked. Assuming they actually get off them and buy something. Also, what about the security concerns about moving about at night? Specifically lone women. We do not want to walk miles to get to our cars. Not everyone who uses the services of Ludlow actually lives there. Finally, a thought of mine. Do we really need the sandwich type advertising signs clogging up the pavement? Most shops have perfectly clear signs hanging from above ground. They need no other. I am quite able bodied, but it doesn’t need a leap of imagination to see the difficulties they pose to those who are not, pram/pushchair, wheelchairs etc. Looking forward to some proper public debate. Many thanks Andy. You may be the only sensible person in the room!

    1. Hi
      Thanks for this response. Lots of things here. There is no intention of restricting car movements around town at night. Shropshire Council is never going to close Castle Street car park because it will not want to lose the revenue. Closure is also a stupid idea. Not part of my report but the reopening of the George will mean that the entrance to the car park will be better lit and overlooked, improving the sense of safety.
      There is no intention to penalise motorists in favour of cyclists. I have made it clear that cycle lanes should be put in where there is room and have rejected other proposals. My wish is not to abandon cars for bikes, just nudge a modal shift by making it more comfortable to cycle. There are proposals for cycle parking.
      A Movement Strategy for Ludlow is about infrastructure not A-Boards. But we need to prevent them blocking access. I have tried to get a a volunteer cod of conduct but it stalled in Shropshire Council. Officers wanted to charge more than £100 a year for each board. I don’t think businesses who don’t have a street frontage should be charged. But Ludlow Town Council could lead on this. Working with the Chamber of Commerce, Ludlow Town Council could draw up guidelines. That would be better than a centrally imposed regime from Shrewsbury.
      Thanks again

  5. Consideration needs to be given to the age of the various age groups of residents. The elderly are not going to take up cycling in any meaningful numbers, we couldn’t manage the steep hills into to the town centre for a start. People with preschool or younger children need their car for shopping, park and ride wouldn’t cut it. Shropshire Councils plan proposes a cycle lane from my village into town which simply isn’t practical. A bus would be especially if it linked up to trains. I agree this needs discussion but more than that, we should be asked what our actual needs are in the form of some sort of survey as the basis of a plan.

    1. Thanks Suzie. For villages, the plan is to got to Demand Responsive Transport. In plain English a minibus that you can book or call. Depending on where you are, response would be around 20 minutes (I don’t believe that). All intertown services would remain. So to go from Bitterley to Shrewsbury, it would be DRT then a bus to the next stage. The DRT would stop at the train station. I have not suggested restricting parking except for two spaces and I have made clear that cars will still be needed. But for those that live in town, we can achieve a modal shift from cars to cycling, walking and public transport. If that is just 10% that will be a noteable improvement.
      I can’t agree with your comment on cycling. A 93 year old friend cycles up Corve Street five days a week. Of course, he has electric power but that is an option that many are taking up.

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