Relief over ‘cash cow’ parking win in Ludlow
Councillors in Ludlow are celebrating after members of Shropshire Council’s Cabinet changed their minds over the implementation of revised parking charges and restrictions in the town.
A protest was held in the Market Square on Tuesday night with hundreds of people calling on the council to stop using the town as a ‘cash cow’.
And it appears a concerted campaign by councillors and townspeople paid off when they secured a significant victory on the parking regime.
And the council has pledged to review the situation 12 months after the new charges come in in November.
Councillor Andy Boddington, who had fought to have the proposed changes scrapped, said: “This was a long and exhausting campaign.
“It went to the wire. For more than a year we have been campaigning, speaking at committee meetings and lobbying Shropshire Council. Agreement was only reached at the very last moment.
“I made the case to the Cabinet that Ludlow is a unique market town. We only have a population of 11,000 people and a catchment area of 25,000. Despite these low numbers, we run a profitable market with stalls six days a week. We are a town with around 80 independent traders. That’s precious in the age where supermarkets dominate and internet shopping is growing.
“The decision on parking charges is good news for Ludlow. We have blocked proposals to extend on-street car parking charges until 8pm. They will end at 6pm, as now.
"That will help the Assembly Rooms and the evening economy. Market traders will still be allowed to park for a reduced rate near their stalls.
“But the hourly rate on-street in the town centre will go up to £1.60 an hour. That’s too high and I think it will damage tourist and shopping trade.
"I have secured a review one year after the new charges come in. This will assess the impact on trade. It will also examine whether changing Castle Street to a long term car park has reduced parking turnover in the town centre.
“In a small historic town like ours we are always going to have conflicts between the parking needs of businesses, residents, shoppers and visitors.
“But if the town centre economy dies, as it has in so many other small towns, Ludlow will no longer be Ludlow.” The new parking meters are being installed this week.
However, the new charging regime will not come in until November.