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.
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.”
Costa Coffee closed its King Street shop in May 2023. Now it is coming back to Ludlow, this time on the outskirts of the town. The planning application for the new site at Rocks Green will be submitted towards the end of February. We are releasing this news ahead of time because the proposal has been leaked. The new Costa Coffee will be on the vacant plot next to Sainsbury’s. This was once destined to be petrol filling station but fuel retailers weren’t interested in the location, the town already having two petrol stations, with others not far away at Woofferton and Craven Arms. The site is being promoted by Blackfriars Property, which is working with WSP on the designs. Blackfriars says the site is unsuitable for a takeaway such as KFC. The unit will be too small. The plot is also next to a residential area and drive through […]
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.
Shropshire Council’s Southern Planning Committee this afternoon approved the application for a foodstore off Sheet Road outside the A49 bypass. There were concerns about the impact the store will have on the town centre. Committee members were more concerned about the safety of pedestrians crossing Sheet Road between the Eco Park bus stops, Ledwyche Rise and the M&S site. There was a motion to delay a decision until the committee had more information on what improvements could be made to the current plans for Sheet Road but that was defeated on a majority vote. The committee went on to approve the application and delegate to officers resolving the issues on Sheet Road.