By all accounts, the pop up Local to Ludlow shop last Thursday was a great success with Tish Dockerty and family running out of stuff to sell. Social distancing was maintained in a friendly and disciplined way.
Pop up Local to Ludlow is back tomorrow. From 9am to 1pm, or whenever the supplies run out.
In the light of this success, I think Ludlow Town Council should look again at opening a social distanced market. We must do all we can support our independent traders. People in Ludlow have learnt social distancing. We should do all we can to support the local traders that make our town centre and market such a success.
There was a clear split of opinion on social media about the idea of a pop up shop. Most people supported the initiative. The antis were vociferous believing that no one should venture to the town centre to shop. They didn’t explain where they shopped but there was an underlying thread that going into the air conditioned environments of Tesco and Aldi was healthier than a social distanced wait in the open air in the market area.
Some regular traders on the market felt it was unfair that Local to Ludlow could trade but they weren’t being offered a pop-up market. In my view these traders should be given the opportunity to trade in the Market Square. Shrewsbury Indoor Market is open, with strict social distancing in place. I don’t see why we can’t do the same for Ludlow Market.
It would be necessary to use tape and barriers to enclose the market. And to have stewards to control entry on a ‘count them all in, count them all out basis.’ A one way system would need to be in place. Social distancing would need to be chalked out. Only around half the market could be used. But it could work.
Whether it is worth it financially for the traders would need to be tested. If charges for the stalls were waived, some traders might wish to try it, perhaps on a Saturday. I think we should try it.
I think everyone in Ludlow who shops with our independent traders and market stall holders has learnt social distancing by now. We know that shoppers can act responsibly. We also know that we want our long standing traders to survive during this unprecedented emergency.
We don’t know when the lockdown will end or what the exit strategy will be. With most events in Ludlow cancelled for the next three months, we need to do all we can to boost the economy of our town.