Ludlow gridlock fear over visit of archbishop
Concerns have been raised Ludlow could be gridlocked when the Archbishop of Canterbury pays a visit next week.
The Diocese of Hereford has invited all of its 420 churches to send representatives to welcome the Archbishop to Ludlow – where parking is an issue at the best of times – on a day when there are roadworks scheduled.
The Most Reverend Justin Welby will arrive in the town on Tuesday morning, and thousands of people are expected to descend on the town to see him.
King Street will be closed for around an hour over the Archbishop's arrival, and town centre traffic could quickly build up, with the Broadgate and Lower Broad Street also closed for the day while Severn Trent Water (STW) carries out works to a pipe.
Councillor Andy Boddington, who represents Ludlow North, said: "The two road closures will lead to chaos.
"I have asked STW to move their work to another day to allow access via the Broadgate for light traffic that might usually use King Street."
Meanwhile, those arriving in the town from the south could find themselves stuck in rush hour tailbacks on the A49, where three-way lights will be in place at the junction to Ashford Bowdler as part of a six-week programme of roadworks.
Councillor Boddington warned the occasion could "stretch road and car parking capacity in Ludlow to the limit".
He said church representatives should be encouraged to use public transport to minimise disruption as far as possible.
Councillor Boddington added: "Everyone is now working hard to ensure that the archbishop doesn’t get held up in Ludlow’s biggest traffic jam since the bypass was built.
"I am sure this will be a great occasion. I hope that worshippers will not rush off afterwards – there are many fine places in Ludlow to eat, drink, shop and enjoy."
A spokesperson for the Diocese of Hereford said: "We're all looking forward to giving a warm and hearty Shropshire welcome to the Archbishop of Canterbury when he visits Ludlow on Tuesday.
"This is an exciting moment for our diocese and will be a celebration of all the good things that are happening in our churches.
"We're mindful of the environment and all our churches are encouraged to use public transport.
"If travelling by car, people are advised to use the Ludlow Park and Ride at the Eco Park.
"We're expecting people to join the archbishop at St Laurence's Church and are working with the local council in Ludlow to manage traffic and people.
"There is a short road closure for around an hour from 9.30am in King Street so that anyone who is elderly or less able may be dropped off and can easily get to St Laurence's Church in good time for the Archbishop's visit."