Rocks Green supermarket gets planning permission after government declines to intervene

Yesterday, 2 March, Shropshire Council planners approved a 21,000 square foot supermarket on the edge of Ludlow at Rocks Green. This follows a decision by Sajid Javid, the local government and communities minister, not to call the application in for his own determination.

Whether the supermarket is good for the town, as many argue, or whether it will destroy our unique town centre, as others claim, this scheme will change Ludlow more than any other planning application approved in recent years.

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If approved – will the Rocks Green supermarket be a Lidl? Or a convenience store?

There have been last minute comments and contributions to the Rocks Green supermarket debate. Love Ludlow has submitted alternative plans for the site. Indigo Planning, acting for the developer Blackfriars, has filed a new statement making clear that retailer will not be Tesco or Aldi. These stores will not be allowed to move out to Rocks Green. Indigo is also hinting that the store will be the discounter Lidl. Lidl have told county planners that they are interested in a store on this site.

The South Planning Committee will decide whether to back the scheme or reject the plans this afternoon (Tuesday, 7 February; 14/05573/OUT).

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Shopping in Ludlow – where do we buy and what do we buy in Ludlow?

Retail matters dominate the town agenda right now. A decision is to be made on the Rocks Green supermarket bid on Tuesday. Budgens is set to close – no date has yet been set – and we are expecting redevelopment of One Stop on Tower Street. Again, there is no date for this. Business rates are also due to soar for some businesses.

We have a busy town centre that for the most part works. We have both general purpose supermarkets and specialist local shops. Our streets are busy, even crowded. Most Ludlow residents visit the town centre at least once a week. You can’t say that about many small market town high streets these days – witness Leominster.

But we lack choice. Cheap clothing, and just being able to buy clothing locally, tops people’s agenda. It is hard to get other non-food goods at a decent price too.

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Philip Dunne MP and developer file opposing last minute comments on Rocks Green supermarket

This morning’s post brought two letters.

The first is from Philip Dunne MP and is addressed to Clive Wright, the chief executive of Shropshire Council and copied to South Planning Committee members. It sets our Mr Dunne’s objections to the proposal for a supermarket at Rocks Green. In the letter, Philip says the development brings with it the very real possibility of undermining the appeal of Ludlow town centre and could threaten livelihoods.

The second envelope came from SP Broadway, lobbyists for the supermarket promoter, Blackfriars. The letter says the developer has carefully listened to the concerns of committee members in revising the scheme. The impact on the town centre will be lower and Shropshire Council’s planning policy officer comments that this level “is unlikely to result in a significantly adverse impact on Ludlow’s town centre.”

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