Mystery Tour to Ledbury's Car Parks?

First published in News

DEMANDS are growing for more and better signposting to Ledbury's town centre car parks, following fears that would-be tourists may be getting impatient and simply driving through.

This is because the single sign to car parks in Ledbury town centre "is pointing in the wrong direction", according to town councillor, Martin Eager.

The modest sign, at the Bye Street/Homend junction, appears to be directing motorists up the Homend rather than round the corner and down Bye Street, to the car parks of St Katherine's, Bye Street, Bridge Street and Lawnside.

Traders agree with Coun Eager that the lack of good directional signposts to car parks could be hitting the town hard financially.

Coun Eager, co-founder with his mother Margaret of the Homend Shopping Mall, said of the poor signage: "The town is effectively losing thousands of pounds a week because of this, - because some people are not stopping."

His raised his concerns at last week's meeting of Ledbury Town Council, where he said: "I am a volunteer at the Heritage Centre and I get the same question from visitors, - where are you car parks?

"There aren't any car parking signs, and the signs coming into Ledbury are an absolute joke."

To test the validity of concerns expressed by visitors, Coun Eager recently drove into town and put his local knowledge aside to rely purely on signage to car parks.

He spotted no signs on the Hereford Road approach and only one on the Worcester Road. Once in the town centre, he only say the Bye Street/Homend junction sign, - apparently directing motorists, wrongly, up the Homend.

High Street trader, John Nash of John Nash Antiques and Interiors, said: "I think Coun Eager has a point."

And Homend jeweller, Steve Crowe of "Past and Present" said: "I do think we could do with more signs. People might just drive through if you haven't been to Ledbury before. Some people get impatient.

"Even in small villages, the signage is usually quite clear, and we are a tourist town."

The Herefordshire councillor for Ledbury, Phill Bettington said he had already held talks with council officials and a solution might be on the horizon.

Coun Bettington said: "The authority's contractor, Balfour Beatty is to appoint Locality Stewards, hopefully by mid-July, and looking at signage will be part of their responsibilities. It will be down to them."

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