NEW security cameras are to be installed in Ludlow more than 15 years after the present system was put in place.

Dating back to 2003, the current cameras are low resolution. Faces cannot be recognised on the recordings.

Discussions have been underway for a while about replacement cameras.

Now Ludlow Town Council is ready to go ahead.

But the scheme will need planning permission and an application has been made to Shropshire Council.

This is a like for like replacement meaning there will be no impact on the town centre’s historic landscape.

Ludlow town centre is a low crime area compared to the centres of Shrewsbury and Oswestry. But it is not crime free. Last May, 42 crimes in the town centre were reported to the police. Fifteen of these were classed as “violence or sexual offences”.

“An upgrade of the town centre’s CCTV is overdue and welcome,” said Andy Boddington, Shropshire councillor for Ludlow North.

“It will help keep Ludlow a low crime town.”

CCTV was installed in Ludlow in 2003.

South Shropshire District Council paid for the installation of the equipment. Ludlow Town Council took responsibility for maintaining it. West Mercia Police operated the system.

The town council is proposing to replace the eight existing cameras and their Wi-Fi connections to allow transmission of higher resolution images to Ludlow Police Station.

There the images are recorded. Cameras can also be monitored in real time, but the police rarely have time to do that.

Six of the CCTV units will have four high definition zoomable cameras with fixed viewpoints.

The two units monitoring the Market Square will also have four cameras each. These will have four adjustable cameras in each unit allowing better sightlines. One of the cameras in each unit will have a 10x optical zoom.

The Wi-Fi connection to Ludlow Police Station control room will be upgraded.

Three Wi-Fi units will be mounted on existing fittings on the roof of the Grade I-listed Buttercross. They will be screened from view by the parapet wall. Three Wi-Fi antennae will be installed on One Stop on Tower Street.

This is the first phase of a two-stage upgrade of the town’s CCTV cameras. Ludlow Town Council has not yet released details of the plans for Phase two.

The first phase of the work is 50 per cent match funded by the Police and Crime Commissioner.

Ludlow Town Council is also contributing as are businesses and organisations in the town, including the Civic Society. The second phase will have 50 per cent police and crime commissioner match funding.