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The group carried on working throughout the pandemic on local Ludlow issues and as members of South Shropshire Climate Action.
Pedestrians and Cyclists
Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan:
We welcome the Government’s Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP) which aims to get more people out of cars for local journeys by encouraging the healthier options of walking and cycling. The plan will extend out of town centres to enable outlying villages to link together with longer distance footpaths and cycle paths. However, the state of Ludlow’s footpaths and roads leave a great deal to be desired and many are too narrow to accommodate a cycle path, let alone a pedestrian walkway. At present, as members of South Shropshire Climate Action (Transport), we are working with City Science (the organisation contracted by Shropshire Council to firm up plans for LCWIPs) to see what can be done in Ludlow town itself. We are optimistic that there will be solutions to many of the current issues preventing our town centre being a safer, cleaner and quieter place for non-car drivers.
Bus Back Better:
The Bus Back Better scheme is a central Government initiative, providing three year grants to provide a better bus network for towns throughout the country. Shropshire Council has applied but the money available has been reduced from £3B to £1.4B and decisions are delayed. We are obviously keen to ensure that Ludlow has a fair share of any funds that are available.
Rejuvenating the Park and Ride:
Much of what we aspire to achieve as a group depends upon having a fit-for-purpose Park and Ride facility on the outskirts of town. That means a facility that is safe (CCTV cameras, barriers and floodlights) offers basic facilities (toilets, comfortable waiting areas and refreshments) and a regular, preferably electric, dedicated bus service to and from the town centre which operates 7 days a week and into the late evening. Shropshire Council refuses to allocate any money to Ludlow for this but we are hopeful that the City Science report (see LCWIP above) and the Bus Back Better scheme will reinforce this requirement and that we will then get the funding needed.
We continue to pursue the improvements to our railway station which were set out in the 2017 report. Progress is slower than we would hope but we are competing for funds with all the stations in the Marches and Transport for Wales tend to prioritise Welsh stations above English ones. Nevertheless we are very pleased that we now have an excellent working relationship with TfW personnel and the Ludlow Station Manager who is based in Shrewsbury. As a result we now have ticket machines installed on both platforms and scheduled works include a lift on platform 1, CCTV cameras and permanent replacements for the current temporary barriers across the forecourt. Unfortunately, Shropshire Council are still reluctant to do the work required to create a footpath across the station entrance and to make the pedestrian crossings more obvious. We have not given up on this and feel quietly confident that this will happen within the next two years.
The Shropshire Car Club suffered from far fewer bookings during the pandemic because, initially, no one was allowed to travel and later, as restrictions eased, many members were wary of car sharing in case of infection. We addressed this last concern by spraying all the cars with the long lasting Microbe Shield ‘Zoono’ – the surface sanitiser recommended and used by public transport operators. We are delighted that membership has now surpassed pre-Covid levels and, for the first time in the 10 years that the club has been running, we are now breaking even every month.
We expect car share to increase in popularity as people realise how much money they can save (especially with fuel price increases), that the end of fossil fuel car production is in sight and that we need to greatly reduce the number of private cars if we are to achieve our carbon reduction targets. Members pay only for the mileage and time they use the car for so, no petrol, tax, parking, insurance, depreciation, maintenance etc. Anyone who drives less than 8K miles each year would be financially much better off joining our club.
The club has two Toyota hybrid cars in Ludlow and three in Shrewsbury but, as a member of the club, you also have access to Co-Wheels cars at over 40 destinations across the UK. Travel by train and use a car whilst at your destination – what could be easier? If you want to learn more about the club, visit www.co-wheels.org.uk/shropshire or contact the Ludlow Club Directors (David Currant 01584 875501 or Denise Thompson (01584 875017)
Electric Vehicle Charging points:
Current membership: Philip Adams, David Currant, Kim Holroyd, Robin Pote, Denise Thompson (Chair), Paul Weeden.
Advisors: Les Lumsdon, Roger Furniss, John Whitelegg
We meet monthly and welcome new members – contact Denise Thompson (01584 875017) firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.