Category: Economy

Former PizzaExpress in Ludlow to revert to The George Inn in £2.2 million project

PizzaExpress, which had never been over busy in Ludlow, closed in late 2020 as the company struggled with the consequences of the pandemic. Now, Oakman Inns and Restaurants is applying to spend £2.2 million to reinstate 12 Castle Street to historic use as The George Inn public house with expanded food provision of nearly 200 covers. This is a well thought out scheme. It brings an empty building into use with a focus on drinking and food, two of Ludlow’s favourite pastimes. Current publicans may think it as a challenge, especially as it is expected to serve food in a pub environment between 2pm and 6pm and late into the evening. Our town centre has always been a place to experience as well as shop. Ludlow’s thriving market surrounded by good eating and drinking is a pleasing contrast to other towns where the town centre has been neglected as everything moved out of town.

Shropshire Council looks to reopening of biodigester but employment land in Ludlow will remain scarce

Shropshire Council today said that the biodigester facility on Coder Road could reopen but not for a while. The driver is the government’s resources and recycling strategy which, though the forthcoming Environment Bill is expected to insist that councils collect food waste separately from garden waste. If new life is breathed into the biodigester it will be a back to the future moment for Ludlow, when once again we will have food waste caddies and separate collection. Ludlow companies are struggling to find space to expand. It is vital that the proposed employment site south of Sheet Road opposite the Eco Park is prepared for use as soon as possible. Unfortunately, Shropshire Council, which is investing £1M in a solar farm in Oswestry to supply a packaging business, even though there will only be a minimal financial return to the council, doesn’t seem prepared to buy the land and get development underway.

Ludlow is running out of spaces for business – urgent action is needed

I have already written on the problems that engineering company Flowfit has had finding premises for expansion. It had hoped to move to the biodigester site but in recent weeks, Shropshire Council has ruled that out. The ground breaking biodigester closed in 2012 and has only had sporadic use since. Shropshire Council now says it will not decide on the biodigester’s future until the end of 2023, more than a decade after the facility stopped processing food waste. At least one other light engineering company was eyeing up the site. But it has now been sterilised for two and a half years. Council officers have told companies that employment land is in demand in South Shropshire. I am now asking for urgent action on providing employment land in Ludlow.

Earth Day: One fifth of the country’s poultry units are in Shropshire and Herefordshire – are our planning rules too lax?

Ludlow resident and PhD researcher Alison Caffyn has been scrutinising the outbreak of poultry units across our area of the Marches. As CPRE has pointed out, we have become the chicken shed capital of England – by July 2019, there were 500 farms with a total of 1,420 intensive poultry units/sheds, containing over 44 million birds in Shropshire, Herefordshire and Powys. As a member of the Southern Planning Committee, I know it is almost impossible to turn down a well prepared application for a poultry unit. Moral arguments cannot normally be used in planning decisions. The planning system only asks councillors to look at the form, location and impact of a facility and whether its purpose is appropriate for the location. It has been long established that industrial farming units are “appropriate” for the countryside even though they are little more than factories.

Expanding Ludlow business could move operation to Wales after lack of council help

One of Ludlow’s most significant employers, Flowfit, is on the verge of signing a deal for expanding its business in Wales. This move comes after Shropshire Council has failed to help the company find a site in Ludlow. Simon Parsonage is Chief Executive of Flowfit, a market leader in everything hydraulic, from distribution to systems and manufacturing has been based on Ludlow Business Park and celebrates 25 years in business in June. At the beginning of the year, Simon contacted Shropshire Council’s Business Growth team. Flowfit has been expanding and wanted to expand further on an adjacent vacant site owned by Shropshire Council or a site close by. Although there were promises to help from council officers, after more than three months Flowfit has not received a valid response. It is now at the point of signing up to expanding on a site in Wales.

Back to top