TRADERS in Ludlow have been given a double boost.

Lockdown restrictions will be eased allowing businesses to open during December and Shropshire Council has announced a parking concession to help market towns.

Parking is seen as a major issue for Ludlow in being able to attract visitors to come and shop in the town and there was a row after new charges were introduced.

There is more good news on Covid-19 with the number of cases in most areas showing a significant drop in the week up to November 18.

There were 11 positive cases in Ludlow which was down nine on the previous week representing a drop of 42 per cent.

In Craven Arms the number of cases was seven which is down three, a fall of 30 per cent.

Overall in Shropshire there was a decline in the number of cases of more than 28 per cent with 589 people recorded as having the virus, a fall of 234.

However, it was not all good news as there was an increase in cases in the Church Stretton area, with 11, a rise of seven on the previous week.

The increase is even greater in Cleobury Mortimer with 12 cases, up eight from the previous week.

But Tracey Huffer, a health worker at Station Drive surgery and Shropshire councillor for Ludlow East, says that she believes that cases are still rising in the town.

“Most people are asymptomatic,” said Ms Huffer and although they will not know they have the illness they could still be transmitting Covid-19.

Shropshire Council has given traders a boost announcing that most car parks will be free over Christmas and the New Year.

This will include Castle Street, Galdeford and Smithfield car parks in Ludlow.

Free parking will be from 11am each day until 8am the next morning.

This move aims to attract more visitors into Shropshire’s towns after the second lockdown ends on December 2.

“This is a crucial time for independent traders who have had a tough year,” said Andy Boddington, Shropshire councillor for Ludlow North that includes the town centre.

“Similarly, pubs, cafes and restaurants desperately need a boost before towns like ours enter the quiet season between New Year and Easter.

“Car parking will still apply between 8am and 11am each day to prevent car parks becoming clogged with workers and residents, rather than shoppers and visitors. On-street car parking charges will remain as at present.

“People paying to park are encouraged to pay by app, text or phone using MiPermit, to avoid having to queue at or touch a pay and display machine.”

There will be no refund or extensions on season and resident permits.

Linney Car Park,is owned by Ludlow Town Council and so is not part of this scheme.