I am sorry to hear that Budgens on Upper Galdeford will close. There is no date yet for the closure and no retailer lined up to replace the supermarket. The closure is expected in weeks not months. I am sorry most of all for the staff, who look set to lose their jobs.
I am not surprised that Budgens has decided to close its Ludlow store. It doesn’t seem to have many customers at any time of the day. But I worry that if another retailer doesn’t move in quickly, this area of town could suffer. And the last thing we want is a reduction in choice in the town.
One Stop, the next store to Budgens, is due to close later in the year to allow the site to be redeveloped. The post office within One Stop will need to find a new home. Many people hoped it would move into Budgens but unless a new retailer moves in quickly, that is now looking unlikely.
The loss of One Stop, Budgens and the post office, will lead to a significant reduction in footfall on Tower Street and the top of Galdeford. That will have a knock-on effect on trade for other shops and food outlets. The Tower Street area has been on the up of late. It is full of decent shops and places to eat. I fear the loss of Budgens and One Stop will hit the other businesses in this locality.
Some people come into Ludlow town centre to visit just one shop or eat and drink at just one pub, café or restaurant. But most will visit a few shops, or shop then find something to drink or eat. If two of our major town centre convenience stores close – Budgens and One Stop – we will lose a lot of those trips where shoppers go from one retailer to another. That could damage the viability of our town centre.
With the closure of these two stores, it will be inevitable that shoppers drift to the bottom of town, Tesco and Aldi. That will weaken trade in the core of the town centre.
At the moment, we have around 58,000 square feet of general grocery space in the heart of the town centre. We will lose 27,000 square feet of this with the closure of Budgens and One Stop. That’s nearly half the space dedicated to selling general groceries in the primary shopping areas of our town. We need to sell general groceries in the town centre to serve the daily needs of people who live and shop there.
We already have a tension in Ludlow between high end stores that serve wealthier people and visitors, and low end shops that meet the needs of those on tight budgets. Budgens never quite met the tight budget test, though it has lowered some of its prices in recent weeks. But we must survive as a workaday town serving daily needs, as well as selling posh clothing and other fineries.
I am really concerned about the impact this closure will have on our town centre and the Tower Street area. But most of all, I am concerned for the staff who learnt on Tuesday afternoon that they face a very uncertain future.
Google thinks Budgens is already closed
. General grocery outlets in Ludlow’s primary shopping streets. Spar: 669 sq metres. Market: c. 1,000 sq metres. Budgens: 2,085 sq metres. One Stop: 428 sq metres. Includes storage and office areas within the stores. Tesco is in the town centre but not the primary shopping area. Aldi is formally outside the town centre.