Ludlow Retail Health: Will M&S Food kill off Sainsbury’s?

The takeaway from this article is that Sainsbury’s hasn’t taken off in Ludlow. It is only trading at 60% of the company benchmark for that size of store. M&S Food will be a head to head competitor. If M&S opens, Sainsbury’s will lose more trade. If the analysts are correct, it will then be trading at just 55% of the company benchmark. The planning system supports competition. If one supermarket leads to closure of another, that is of no concern to planners. Sainsbury’s might not close but in the current retail environment any business that is not hitting high fives is at risk of shutting its doors permanently. These are tough times in the retail sector. I’ll write on any potential impact of M&S Food on the town centre in future article.

Shropshire Council’s dog control order needs improvement – this is my draft response

I strongly support Shropshire Council’s efforts to clamp down on cleaning up dog fouling. But the current proposals need a lot of improvement. In particular, the plan to fine dog walkers if their dog defecates in a public place are draconian and unworkable. I am concerned that the council is creating grey areas where people will be uncertain about the rules. The proposals would have benefited from detailed scrutiny before being issued for consultation. This is my draft response. Dozens of people have already provided me with feedback. I’d welcome more comments before I submit my final response. I would urge all dog owners and dog lovers submit their own response before the 21 December deadline. If you are a visitor who brings your dog to Ludlow or anywhere else in Shropshire, you should also respond. Respond here… Owner or walker? The consultation refers at several points to dog owner […]

Marks and Spencer: New plans for a Ludlow food store are a design failure

M&S Food has submitted its second application for a store outside the A49 bypass (23/04457/FUL). Putting aside whether another out of town store will be good for the town centre, this design is worse than the last. It is quite out of keeping with the landscape and looks like an oversized intensive poultry rearing unit. That’s an image that is quite alien to the M&S brand. The first design for this store was no more a white urban box. It was withdrawn when it was clear that it would not get approval by Shropshire Council. The next stage of design was a lot better. It mystifies me that has been discarded for a gross design. A carbuncle rather than a welcoming store.

The Tories are perilously close to losing control of Shropshire Council

When Shropshire Council was established in 2009, the Conservatives gained a majority of 34 over the opposition parties and independents. Fast forward to 2023. The Conservative majority has been reduced to just four. The Tories are in peril of losing votes they need to win in the council chamber. They are also in danger of losing more by-elections. They have lost the last four to the Lib Dems. Although leading Conservatives are blaming their problems on the national government, their problems lie closer to home. They have shown little interest in communities. They haven’t listened to people. They have become arrogant and autocratic. Nationally and locally, the Conservatives have been in power too long. The county needs a change. The country needs a change. The Conservatives need to retreat, detox from power and reflect on how they have turned electoral popularity to being a party that is too widely detested […]

Conservatives and council officers tried to exclude opposition councillors from North West Relief Road vote

The Northern Planning Committee met yesterday to consider the planning application for the controversial NWRR road. After nearly four hours, the committee voted by six votes to five to approve the planning application. The vote was on political lines. Six Conservatives voted for the plan. Three Lib Dem, one Green and one Labour councillor voted against. This article is not about that debate. It’s about the attempts by Shropshire Council and a former cabinet member to exclude members who have in the past indicated that they don’t support the road from yesterday’s committee. No attempts were made to exclude those Conservative members who have supported the road in the past. This group of councillors are described in an email from a senior council officer to Shrewsbury & Atcham MP Daniel Kawczynski as “our councillors”, inferring their vote was in the bag. These actions are unprecedented. They show that Shropshire Council […]

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