Fears for post office after permission granted for redevelopment of One Stop site

Shropshire Council has granted permission for the demolition and redevelopment of the One Stop building at 9 Tower Street, Ludlow. The building also houses the town’s main post office. The replacement building will probably house a café or restaurant on the ground floor with ten apartments above.

There is no doubt that this site needs something doing with it. It is possibly the ugliest building in Ludlow town centre. But I am concerned that we are losing a second convenience store in the main shopping area. I am even more worried about the future of the post office.

Planning permission (16/04032/FUL) has been granted for the ground floor of the building to have:

  • A1 retail use – so it could continue to have a convenience or other store[1]
  • A2 or B1(a) office use – this is unlikely
  • A3 restaurant and café use – the applicant has suggested this is the most probable use.

The permission also allows “ancillary activities linked to the above uses” and residential use of the upper floors (C3 use). The upper floors can also be used for financial and business use, instead of apartments.

The permission does not include A4 use (drinking establishments). This scotches the perennial rumour that any large vacant or redeveloped building in Ludlow is destined to become a Wetherspoons.

The planners say that if the ground floor becomes a café or restaurant, they would like one-third of the space to be reserved for retail unit. But this request is advisory, not a planning condition.

The planning permission allows for 10 apartments on the upper three floors. No contribution towards affordable housing will be made, in line with government restrictions. No car parking will be provided.

A planning condition insists that the current street trading pitch, often occupied by a trader selling bags and similar goods, must continue.

I understand that One Stop will be closing permanently and will not be seeking a new site in Ludlow. After the recent closure of Budgens, the only convenience store remaining in the main shopping area of our town will be Spar. This will be a serious inconvenience for people who live in the heart of the town centre. Many older people, including those in retirement settlements such as Clifton Court and College Court, have relied on Budgens and One Stop for their food shopping.

The post office will need to find a new home. That might prove difficult after the closure Budgens. Shropshire Council says “other suitable premises exist within the town” for the post office. But our town centre lacks large format stores where a post office might locate alongside another retail operation.

Post offices elsewhere have moved into W.H. Smith stores. Perhaps that might happen here. I would not like to see the post office go into Tesco. That would reduce footfall in the main shopping area of town.

This application, and the closure of Budgens, marks another step in the transformation of our town centre into a place where you can eat and dine, but not somewhere you can shop. I hope that this is not an inexorable trend. But I fear it may be accelerated when the out of town superstore is built at Rocks Green.

Notes

[1]. For a guide to planning use classes, see the Planning Portal.

3 thoughts on “Fears for post office after permission granted for redevelopment of One Stop site

  1. Cannot see how a post office counter the size we have and need at present could possibly fit into the already small and cramped floor area of W H Smith , and upstairs must be out of the question. The current post office is i believe situated in the best and most convenient place . And do we really need another eating house in the town .

  2. With online services getting better all the time and delivery couriers offering better prices than royal mail with pick ups at Spar, Co-Op and Livesey stores. Is there any real need for a post office at all??

    Everything I can do at a post office I can do online, if you need stamps you can buy them from newsagents, pensioners get pensions paid directly into bank accounts, they’re surely becoming a thing of the past?

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