A PUBLIC drop-in session has been called over proposals for major changes to parking charges in Ludlow.

The changes are predicted to have a major impact upon shops in the town.

Shropshire Council is consulting on a wide range of changes to parking charges that will see some increase and others go down.

One of the changes would be a removal of any restriction on the length of time that people can park. At present there is a maximum of three hours on the streets and four in the Castle Street Car Park.

On street parking would increase from 70p to £2 an hour and also from 50p an hour to £1 an hour in Castle Street car park. However, charges would fall in some of the other car parks.

A ‘pop and shop’ policy that allows people to park free for 15 minutes would end under the proposals and Sunday parking which is currently half price would become like any other day.

People living in Ludlow would see the £50 a year charge for parking in front of their houses double to £100 but, for the first time, residents would be able to buy a ‘season ticket’ allowing them to park in the towns car parks all day and every day.

Under the new proposals charging would not start until 9am rather than 8am as at present, giving people who park their cars overnight potentially an extra hour in bed.

However, in the evening free parking would not start until 8pm – two hours later than at present and so affecting people in town for an early evening meal or visiting venues like the Assembly Rooms and St Laurence Church.

“There are a lot of proposed changes to car parking rules,” said Andy Boddington, Shropshire Councillor for the Ludlow North, which includes the town centre.

“Visitors will be allowed to park on the streets and in the Castle Square car park for a long as they like, though that could prove expensive. New season tickets will permit residents to leave their vehicles in car parks for less than 50p a day. The permits used by builders who need to park in the street when repairing properties will leap to £20 a day.”

“This is not just about the cost of parking. The challenge we face in Ludlow is balancing the needs of residents, workers, shoppers and visitors. That is never going to be easy to achieve in an historic town like ours. Residents need somewhere to park but we also need a constant turnover of vehicles in car parking spaces so people can get to the shops, GP practices and tourist attractions.

“That’s why we councillors want to explain the changes to everyone and ask their opinion. We hope that as many people as possible will be able to drop in. People can also contact us directly or respond to Shropshire Council through its website.”

“We will also welcome comments on any other concerns people have about traffic and parking in the town.”

Ludlow’s unitary councillors Andy Boddington, Vivienne Parry and Tracey Huffer are inviting residents, shoppers and visitors to a drop-in session between 2pm and 6pm next Tuesday (September 5) at the Women’s Centre in Church Street.