A TRANSPORT campaigner has spoken out against the "vehement opposition" to the proposed cycling and walking plan for Ludlow.

Shropshire Council held a series of roadshows across the county in May, with locals invited to comment on the county's cycling and walking infrastructure plans.

In Ludlow, Shropshire Council wants to shut the High Street and King Street to traffic, as well as converting the Castle Street car park into an open community space and parking for market traders. 

The plans were blasted by Councillor Darren Childs, who said that closing the town centre to traffic would be detrimental to businesses.

But Denise Thompson, of Ludlow 21 Sustainable Transport Group, has spoken up for the plans, saying that in a climate emergency, "we must all face the fact that the number of cars (especially fossil-fuelled ones) on all our roads must be drastically reduced."

"The context for the plan results from four key events, Ms Thompson said, pointing out that the Highway Code now gives pedestrians priority at junctions and crossings, that councils have been asked by Government to prepare walking and cycling plans, that Shropshire Council aims for net zero carbon by 2030, and that transport in the county "produces 37 per cent of CO2e emissions from surface transport in Shropshire, not to mention noise and particulate pollution."

"The overall objectives are to reduce carbon, make the environment healthier, reduce congestion and car dependency, create an inclusive network of footpaths and cycle routes which is safe and enables opportunity for all, regardless of age or ability, and will support sustainable economic growth in the market towns," Ms Thompson said. 

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"Shouldn’t we all be welcoming these objectives, even if we disagree with some of the detail?

"The proposal talks about the potential ‘closure of the historic centre to ‘general traffic’ and then later says that market traders and residents would not be affected. It is, of course, also essential that emergency vehicles, local buses, goods deliveries and taxis would be allowed in and this was confirmed at the roadshow."

But, Ms Thompson said, the proposal suggests that while the Town Square car park could be used as a community space, there must be reserved space for market traders' transport.

"I urge all residents to read the entire report which is on the Shropshire Council website," she said.