A TOWN'S business has seen an 18 per cent drop in trade since new parking measures were introduced, it has been claimed.

Ludlow Town Council said it had carried out a survey which came up with the figure following altered parking charges by Shropshire Council.

Councillor Viv Parry said the authority had “drastically miscalculated” the impact the new charges would have on the town.

The Lib Dem councillor said: “A recent survey by the town council has indicated that trade in Ludlow may be down by as much as 18 per cent since the Conservative administration increased parking charges across the county.

“Shropshire Council has drastically miscalculated the impact their charging will have on Ludlow.

“We are small town of 10,000 plus people but with thousands more coming in town for daily or weekly shopping from the surrounding countryside.

“We have had a thriving market and around 70-plus independent businesses in the town centre.

“High parking charges put off both local shoppers and visitors from outside our areas.

“Virtually everyone told Shropshire Council that this would be the case but they did not listen.

“All of the Lib Dem councillors for the Ludlow area are committed to remedying this situation.”

In June, Councillor Tim Gill, Ludlow mayor, said the new charges were driving businesses away from the town.

He said: “We are 18 per cent down on trade since the new charges came in.

“What I find depressing is the position a lot of our independent traders are in.

“There has been a drop in trade since Christmas. Local people are no longer coming in and shopping. One retailer told me it has ‘totally devastated’ local trade.”

He added: “Once these traders are gone they will be lost forever.

“We are alienating those who come from around Ludlow to shop.

“Why would you come into Ludlow to buy some bread and meat and pay another £1.80 on top.”

At the time, Kevin Aitkin, the council’s transport commissioner, said: “A number of issues have been raised following roll-out including concerns with regards to increases in tariffs, the impact on the local economy, concessions for holiday lets and the reduction of on-street resident permit provision.

“Improvements to the parking service include improved ease of enforcement, improved customer satisfaction and more streamlined service with a large increase in chip and pin, contactless payments and digital ticketing.

“The data available in the period following implementation and observations on the ground give evidence of a change in parking habits with an outward migration from on-street parking bays to outlying off-street car parks.

“In Ludlow,  there is no evidence to suggest the new parking strategy is impacting negatively on the town.

“However, there is evidence that the parking behaviour has changed with increased usage of outlying car parks within the town.”