Tag: retail

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.

Despite the current problems, Ludlow can be the new future of shopping for pleasure

We have empty shops in town and we will probably have more. Other than convenience stores, supermarkets and a limited outdoor market, no one is trading through their high street stores at the moment. Reopening is probably more than a month away.   Our town centre has been weakened by the pandemic. It is far from dead. Behind the shuttered and darkened shopfronts are businesses working hard online. Or resting. It’s hard to cut hair or trim nails on the internet. We must stride into the future. Not just post-pandemic. Over the coming decades. We must not turn our back on our high street and the traders that give it colour and life. If we give up on our town centre, we will ensure its obsolescence. There are currently around seven or eight retail premises in Ludlow town centre that are empty or up for let. One of the most recent advertisement to let is Joules on the Bullring. It has always been a trophy shop, attracting the attention of passers-by and festival goers who might drop in and buy a bargain but were just as likely to buy the products online later. High streets have always been changing but…

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A fixed penalty notice has been issued against one of the smaller pub type venues in Ludlow town centre. There has been a stream of complaints about this venue using dodges to get around the social distancing and subsequent lockdown rules. The legals at Shropshire Council say the business cannot be named and I cannot comment. The council’s press release and my legal advice are below. But it is not one of my locals. The locals I so miss. It is not one of our historic or anchor venues. I must say no more.

Harp Lane Deli applies for awning – its plans for tables and a gazebo need more discussion

One of Ludlow’s favourite delis has applied for Listed Building Consent for an awning to cover the seated area (20/05073/LBC).  Harp Lane Deli at 4 Church Street has also applied for five tables with chairs and a gazebo. The proposal is in part a response to Covid-19 restrictions. The restriction to two customers in the store at a time has damaged profitability. This is an application that is right in principle but needs further discussion on the details.

Planners to ask councillors to approve Rocks Green Sainsbury’s supermarket and petrol station next week

It’s expected to be the final decision. After more than six years of wrangling and discussion, plans for a Sainsbury’s supermarket are expected to be approved by the Southern Planning Committee on 22 September. There are still some details to be resolved but there are no fundamental planning reasons for rejecting the scheme. But to me the scheme is not as good as it might be. Bus passengers are treated as second class customers by the developers and planning officers alike. What they long for is cars, cars, cars. This application pays no more than lip service to the climate emergency. A handful of EV charging points. A lower profile to reduce space heating. The application will also urbanise the Rocks Green roundabout and will be a poor gateway for one of the country’s most historic towns.   But this development will go ahead and, love it or hate it, and we will have to live with it for decades to come.

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