IT has never been more important to support shops and other businesses in Ludlow Town Centre that are able to remain open.

This is the message from Ludlow mayor Tim Gill as pubs and restaurants were forced to close.

He also wants Shropshire Council to cut down on parking enforcement at this difficult time.

Mr Gill says that if it is not possible to offer free parking for short periods then it should be available all day during this time.

“At a time when local businesses are shutting, Church Inn for example, or laying off staff and or cutting hours we need to encourage people in to town to support local businesses,” said Mr Gill.

“Broad and Mill Street all have had spaces this week and the Castle Square car park was mostly less than half full.

“So you would have thought Shropshire Council would have softened their parking enforcement.

“But oh no, there they are checking a dwindling number of cars. It is quite pathetic.

“It is time to make on street parking and that in Castle Square car park free for the first hour, whilst this crisis continues to give the town centre businesses some help.

“If the argument is that it is not possible to implement free parking for an hour then make it free all day.”

In another blow to the town Ludlow Town Council has reversed its decision to keep the market open.

Ludlow Town Council has reversed its decision to hold an open air market.

It had been hoped that the market could continue to trade as it is outdoors with people further apart and apply the two metre rule. The virus is also less readily passed on outdoors than inside.

“The socially distanced market was a good reaction to the growing crisis,” said Andy Boddington, Shropshire councillor for Ludlow North.

“It gives an alternative to supermarket aisles where social distancing isn’t possible.

“As the crisis grows, town bus services have been cut back by around 90 per cent and some communities will no longer be served.

“We could have put in place a better service if Shropshire Council had not dithered about emergency subsidies to bus companies,” said Mr Boddington.

The 435 service between Ludlow and Shrewsbury, travelling through Craven Arms, Wistanstow, Dorrington and Condover is still running on a Saturday timetable but that will be reviewed daily.

“But we are not in total lockdown and many people still need to get out to shop and go to the GP and pharmacy within the rules,” added Mr Boddington.