At around 7am yesterday morning, a reversing delivery truck from a convenience store struck a glancing blow to the BT telephone booth on the corner of Upper Galdeford, Lower Galdeford and Tower Street. It’s beside the Ludlow Mural at the former Budgens and directly opposite the Queens. By late morning, the leaning phone box had become an object of wonder. A work of art perhaps. People stood, stared and talked about the new attraction in Ludlow. The “leaning tower of Ludlow” at least one wag called it. There is a part of me that wanted to leave the phone booth as it is. Leaning and artistic. An attraction in its own right. A micro version of the famous tumbling telephone boxes of Kingston-upon-Thames.
This is not unexpected news. Brown and Francis is too small a store to thrive in an age where pharmacies are underfunded by government and the range of services pharmacies must provide is increasing. A 30% cut in NHS funding in real terms has led to the closure of 1,400 pharmacies in England since 2015. MPs, including Helen Morgan MP, have protested in a letter to the government but to no avail. Ludlow’s three pharmacies handle around 21,000 prescriptions a year, down from 23,000 a year and a half ago. That drop will be down to more patients ordering their prescription through an online delivery service. All Brown and Francis (Peak) patients will be transferred to Lunts though they can as always elect to go elsewhere.
Shropshire Council approves hike in car parking charges – that’s not a surprise but it will damage Ludlow
Parking charges will go up in Ludlow following a decision by the Economic and Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee not to refer the proposed increase in charges in our town back to the council’s cabinet. Charges for Wem and for Shrewsbury in the evening and on Sundays will be reconsidered by the cabinet. I spoke for Ludlow at the meeting but could not put forward a recommendation because I am not a member of the committee. It was established during the meeting that £4.3m “surplus” had been generated from parking charges in Shropshire over the last three years. I argued in my submission that that was sufficient to pay for the parking reviews and increased staffing costs the council was planning. It was stated that this “surplus” was used for the purposes within the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984. No evidence was given on where the £4.3m had actually gone […]
Rickards will be no more and Ludlow will lose one of its most distinctive independent retail shops. Rickards has sold hardware and domestic wares since 1864. Now, the property is up for sale and the vendor is inviting anyone who wants to also buy the business to contact them. An application for planning permission has been made to allow a wider variety of uses for the ground floor. The next use could be anything from a café to a financial adviser. The vendors have a clear preference for “a mixed space which will incorporate retail, spaces for local artisan crafters to utilise, sale of drink and food from local suppliers, spaces to hire for meetings and small events and the display of historic artifacts associated with Rickards and Ludlow.”
Ludlow is still a lively town and well worth visiting to shop and explore its heritage, cafes restaurants, pubs market and really good shops. But it cannot be hidden that there are more empty shops than there used to be. At present there are 23 vacant retail units in the town centre. In November 2017, there were just seven vacant units the lowest number for years. The empty shops are more obvious in Ludlow than they have ever been, particularly on King Street. The recent closure of the Fruit Basket on Church Street was another blow to the town centre. But it is not all gloom and doom. And there are clear signs of a revival, including on King Street. Shops are being refurbished and new tenants moving in. We need a task force to promote short term improvements while the town centre recovers.