King Street could soon reopen to traffic after stonemasons began the careful restoration of the damaged corner of the Grade I listed Buttercross on Monday, although a timescale for completion of the work is not yet known.
The most severely damaged stones near the bottom of the building are to be replaced, while chips to the stonework higher up will be repaired.
Speaking at a town council meeting on Monday evening, town clerk Gina Wilding said: “On Thursday the stonemason came out to site and was measuring up the stone.
“Today he returned and installed the first piece of repaired stonework.
“They have all the stone and they are currently cutting and fitting it. We don’t have an end date yet but the work has started.”
The building, which is owned by the town council and houses the town museum, was hit overnight on August 5 by a lorry which failed to stop.
The town council pledged to get the repairs under way as quickly as possible, with the process involving Shropshire Council conservation officers and Historic England due to the building’s listed status, stone needing to be quarried specially for the work, and the cost to be agreed with insurers.
The incident was the latest in a long line of collisions involving HGVs hitting either the Buttercross or Grade II-listed Bodenhams premises opposite as they navigate the narrow chicane from King Street onto High Street.
King Street has remained closed since the latest smash and Councillor Glenn Ginger said it had caused “huge disruption” to motorists.
He said: “I have been asked by a number of people when, as a council, we are going to provide details of how much we are repairing.
“People are asking me whether we are repairing all the damage up to where two or three stones were damaged a couple of years ago.”
Ms Wilding said: “The large pieces of stone are being cut and are being replaced, and the conservation officer has approved a different option for the chips, so the chips will be repaired.”
The enforced road closure came weeks after a traffic order banning vehicles between 10am and 3pm on Fridays and Saturdays was implemented by Shropshire Council using emergency coronavirus legislation to allow for social distancing during the busiest times.
The traffic order will remain in place when the full closure is lifted following the repairs, but Shropshire Councillor Andy Boddington, who represents Ludlow North, said it had been a welcome side effect of the Buttercross collision.
He said: “I think the closure of King Street for limited periods works. It makes our town more welcoming for pedestrians and reduces the conflicts between pedestrians and vehicles. It works for traders on King Street also.
“We should consider keeping it permanently but that debate must await a future council meeting.”