Shropshire Star

'Shambles' as members of public turn up at 'cancelled' consultation event for Ludlow shakeup plans

A public consultation event in Ludlow was cancelled after councillors spotted an embarrassing mix-up over local roads.

Picture: Shropshire Council

According to reports residents turned up at a town centre venue today only to find a drop-in session to be held at Ludlow Assembly Rooms had been called off by Shropshire Council a few days ago.

Councillors had raised concerns that the event, to be held into proposals under the Ludlow Future Transport and Movement Plan, had been organised at short notice.

And it mixed up two roads in the town, calling Corve Street 'Bull Ring'. The proposals were for public space changes and slowing down traffic for pedestrians in the town centre.

"The mix-up was immediately obvious," said Councillor Andy Boddington. "They can't go to a public consultation event with such a major error, it is an embarrassment for the council."

Councillor Boddington said local councillors had an "energetic" discussion with Shropshire Council officers on Monday.

"We had four days' notice of the consultation but it is not urgent, it is for long-term future plans," said Councillor Boddington, who added that there is currently "no money" to pay for any of it.

A consultation had been announced to try to garner public support for the proposals.

The councillor added that he had started to receive complaints from residents who had turned up at the venue only to find that the event was not running.

He said: "This is shambolic. The drop-in event was cancelled on Tuesday. Shropshire Council did not make a public announcement. It is time it treated people in Ludlow with respect."

Councillor Ian Nellins, Shropshire Council Cabinet member with responsibility for transport, said: “Consultation on the Ludlow Future Transport and Movement Plan has been paused after comments and concerns were raised by some elected members.

“Shropshire Council held three meetings with a broad range of stakeholders including our local members, town councillors, businesses and community groups on January 11 with the knowledge it was our intention to launch public consultation at this time.

"In addition to the views already gathered on January 11, we had hoped to be able to gather the opinions of local people and tourists visiting during the half-term break.

“However, on reflection, we need to bring this work into a wider look at Ludlow to explore opportunities to support the economic prosperity of the town and its wider community.”

Councillor Boddington, the county councillor for Ludlow North, welcomed the pause in the consultation.

"The consultation was launched without prior notice and it became clear that it would be difficult to engage with enough people and organisations in the three weeks allowed," he said.

"There were also some errors in the consultation that needed correction. That included presenting plans for Bull Ring which were in fact for Broad Street.

“It will be better for Ludlow if we had a broader review of the town’s transport needs, including bus services."

Councillor Boddington added: “Although there are a number of highly visible empty shops in the town centre at the moment, the town centre’s economy is strong with new retailers coming in and new concerts at the castle.

“The creative arts economy in Ludlow is growing in strength, as is the engineering sector.

“We do need a movement strategy that delivers improvements to car parking, buses and the streets of Ludlow. The consultation, now withdrawn, made a good start but more work is needed to get the objectives and the proposed scheme right.”