M&S Food is planning to come to Ludlow

Marks and Spencer have announced that they are bringing their food format store to the outskirts of Ludlow. The plans are for the M&S Food store to be opposite the Eco Park on a site allocated for employment use (though there is no significant planning barrier to the site being used for retail).

We only have the barest outlines of the proposals at this stage. M&S will begin a public consultation with drop in sessions for the public at the beginning of December.

There will be a lot of issues to consider here. Another out of town store in a town that has thrived on its distinctive, largely independent retail offer in the historic town centre. The site ticks the boxes for road and bus access. There are suggestions from what we know so far that the designers have looked at the landscape screening aspects, as it will be visible for miles to the south, east and north east.

In 2019, we heard whispers that was planning to build a food store here. But that scheme for the site never saw the light of day. It is now Sainsbury’s.

The M&S scheme is not yet in the planning system at which point we will see more details. The public consultations are on Thursday 1 December 12pm to 4pm and Friday 2December 10.30am to 4pm at the Ludlow Assembly Rooms. Comments at this stage should be sent to info@foodhallconsultationludlow.co.uk.

There are major issues for our town with this application. Lots of us love shopping at M&S, me included. But a new high market store will inevitably reduce footfall in the town centre. Our independent traders in the town centre mostly came through the pandemic well. But the effect of the current financial pressures on personal finances are reducing spending power and we are seeing more store closures that we have seen before.

I am not taking a view on this proposal. We don’t have the application yet. But there is a lot for us to think about.

14 comments on M&S Food is planning to come to Ludlow

  1. Such a waste on green fields when maybe former Sommerfield/Budgens coul be used for this rather than knocking down and turned into retirement homes.

  2. We are lucky to have homes in Ludlow and East Yorkshire. We moved to East Yorkshire as NHS Consultants in the mid 90s and are now in forced semi-retirement because of the NHS pensions issue – another problem for local populations. We will ultimately leave East Yorkshire before it floods !

    When we came to East Yorkshire, Hull was busy with lots of shops. It had opened a new, in town, shopping centre over a dock – Princess Quay in 1991. Over they ensuing years a lot of suburban retail parks have now been built and Princess Quay is almost empty and the majority of the small town centre independent shops are closed.

    When Hull was the UK City of Culture, many derelict town centre shops had glossy vinyl pictures placed on the windows to make them less unattractive.

    This situation has been repeated in Towns all over the UK including my City of Birth, Gloucester, and my City of Education Manchester.

    Endorsing out of town greenfield developments will be fatal for one of the things that makes Ludlow so appealing, it’s multitude of small independent shops.

    Once town centres are abandoned they never recover despite investment and the the efforts of Retail Consultants such as Mary Portas.

    Beverley, our nearest Town has an M&S Food hall in the Town which brings in trade and helps keep the independent small shops alive.

    I can’t help but think that the town would be better serviced by repurposing some of the large empty retails spaces in Ludlow – Bugdens, Wildwood, Pizza Express – rather than suck life out of the town although I appreciate parking is a problem. Perhaps use the Eco park as a park and ride with a shuttle bus to town ?

    Can’t we learn from the multiple examples of how out of town shopping kills town centres?

    1. Ludlow’s independant shops will survive and prosper. That is the philosopy of Ludlow as a Market Town of repute.

  3. Hi Andy
    In the event that this is allowed to happen – which I believe it should not as it will only do damage to the town’s independent traders – they must be compelled to allow extended parking and a free bus shuttle to the town centre to offset the nagative aspects of their presence.

  4. I’ve got no problem with M&S coming to town but it needs to be a level playing field with the town centre. ie cheap/free parking. I already have customers complaining about the cost of parking and have lost a few to Sainsbury’s.

    1. Agreed! I live in Ludlow but never pay to park, so I park in Tesco, Aldi and Sainsburys car parks when shopping there. Anywhere else in Ludlow, for any shops i would rather walk into town. Its expensive parking that is killing trade in Ludlow…

  5. Having visited Sanisburys onece I will never return. parking is ridulously diffivcult for large 4 wheel drives so I suggest the do better research re local are conditions. I will always bshop with independants. Take a look at fuel prices. The best value is at local independents such as Griffiths Garage in lEINTWARDINE. Local is the best value and embraces the community spirit.

  6. Concerned about entrance being so near eco park and farmers entrance to buildings. How will people from new ledwyche rise estate cope crossing to roundabout lights with all the new traffic and lorries coming from food hall. No pedestrian crossing from new estate and furthermore the corner is blind and very dangerous for everyone including people living next to this site. Should not be allowed to happen amd Planners should realise how fast and dangerous this sheet rd has become from Greete. At the moment it is so dark in this area at nighttime it is horrendous for all to see. Have reported this but no street lights fixed as yet.

  7. Great idea!
    We retired to Richards Castle from Anglesey (not London) five years ago. We were astonished by the lack of supermarkets in the Ludlow area. Morrisons in Leominster is difficult to get to and none of the large supermarkets in Hereford are on the north side of the city. It is difficult to do a large food shop in the centre of Ludlow as we can’t carry everything to the car.
    Join the 21st century and let M&S build a new store!

  8. • Whether you are for or against this proposal it is lacking in many ways because it is simply not integrated into what’s around it and what might follow it

    It (misleadingly) shows a cyclist but there isn’t a cycle lane in sight.Maybe they intend to offer local deliveries by cargo bike?
    • The pedestrian access marked follows the south side of Sheet Road and crosses the A49 under manual traffic light control. Is this good enough for the new Foldgate housing behind Hagley Place and the completed development adjacent to the new Western Power depot? All are increasing traffic volumes on Sheet Road. Where’s the footbridge over the A49?
    • The bus stops marked are on the wrong side of Sheet Road for this store? Neither has a shelter either.
    • The proposal in general, and EV charging (good in principle for CO2 reduction), in particular, will do nothing to ease traffic volume and congestion in the area
    • If people from Ludlow Town do want to do food shopping here, then the integration of the Park and Ride service should have been taken into account. Its use could attenuate the inevitable congestion and road safety considerations.

    The claim that the proposal ‘reduces transport impact on M&S customers being able to shop locally’ is really hard to understand. Do they mean that M and S customers currently drive to Hereford and Shrewsbury? If they do, then it’s probably for clothing and it’s much easier to do that by train. Yet again no clothing provision here, when children’s clothing has always been a problem in Ludlow.

    Yet again the old argument about jobs. Does Ludlow need more jobs in retail? No, we need more nurses, doctors, plumbers, electricians, technicians of all sorts and care workers.

  9. Repeating earlier comments, but bringing them back to the fore – surely the ex-Budgens site is the place for this. It would keep the shoppers in the centre of town – Ludlow is not in a position to support another out of town foodstore – and certainly not at a different out of town location to Sainsburys – more driving, more fuel.

  10. Best news that I have heard for sometime It will save me me from trekking into Hereford M & S foodhall. It will bring more people into Ludlow not less and it will bring jobs which is good with the new housing site which is on the outskirts of town near the Eco park.

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