First, we had the Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP). Building on that, I published a Movement Strategy for Ludlow which went much further and included recommendations for walking, cycling, parking and bus improvements across the town. Now, Shropshire Council has begun work on a Future Transport and Movement Plan for Ludlow.
This is being led by Shropshire Council’s engineering consultants, WSP. The work by WSP has led to considerable improvements to the streetscape in Shrewsbury. Improvement works in Shifnal are nearing completion and plans for Bridgnorth are on the starting grid.
It is time for Ludlow to see some improvements to the town centre. It is time for improvements across the town. Shropshire Council has taken the lead. Ludlow Town Council should now join it as a partner setting up a team to work with WSP and to advise the council. This is the pattern adopted by successful towns.
Ludlow Town Council must take a leading role in development in the Ludlow Future Transport and Movement Plan. I hope it will work in partnership with WSP, Shropshire Council, unitary councillors and the Chamber of Commerce. However, my understanding from the town council is that it will wait to receive a report before responding yes or no to recommendations. No other town has taken this approach. Ludlow needs a task force of councillors, working group, call it what you will, to ensure that it engages fully in the most important project to improve the environment in the town centre for decades.
Other towns have had leadership from their Business Improvement Districts (BID). Ludlow doesn’t have a BID. It will be down to the Chamber of Commerce to fulfil that role.
If we all work together on this, we can achieve a step change in the streetscape in town. Improving the experience for pedestrians. Better pavements. Better signposting. Better crossing points. Managing traffic flows while still maintain access for disabled people, town centre residents and disabled people.
It is time to tackle the problems we face in the town centre. It is an opportunity Ludlow cannot afford to miss.
I hope everyone will agree we can’t keep debating movement around the town centre for ever. We need to identify the improvements the town needs and then set about getting them delivered.
Getting funding for delivery will not be easy. But Ludlow Town Council and the wider Ludlow area will benefit from the community infrastructure levy from ongoing and soon to be permitted housing developments. We need to use that money wisely.
Anything is achievable. What is lacking in Ludlow is corporate ambition.