Sainsbury's announced as supermarket for Ludlow site

Sainsbury's has been announced as the company which will build a supermarket on a site that has been the subject of six years of planning discussion.

Sainsbury's has said it hopes to open the store by next winter
Sainsbury's has said it hopes to open the store by next winter

The food retailer has announced it will be building an 18,000 sq ft supermarket at Rocks Green in Ludlow.

The company says the site will create up to 150 jobs and work is expected to start on the site later this year.

The store, which will include an Argos inside, is expected to be completed next autumn, with plans to open by winter.

Sainsbury’s property director, Patrick Dunne said: “We’re excited about the plans for our new store, which will provide a significant investment in Ludlow, supporting economic growth locally and providing a convenient shopping location for residents.

"With the nearest Sainsbury’s over 16 miles away and Argos store 19 miles, I know this new store is welcome news for many across the community. We look forward to opening the doors to customers by winter 2021.”

Sainsbury’s head of stores for the central zone, Tom Balay said: “We’re really looking forward to serving the Ludlow community. This new store is a win for residents and ensures Ludlow has the services it needs for the future.”

The store will be built on land at the junction of the A49 and Rocks Green and will have 169 parking spaces, according to Sainsbury's.

Andy Boddington Shropshire Councillor for Ludlow, said that while some people would welcome the news, others would be concerned about the impact on the town centre.

He said: “This application will split opinion in Ludlow.

An image of how the supermarket could look

“Many people will welcome an alternative to Tesco and Aldi. Those stores are in the centre of Ludlow, where it can be difficult to park at peak times. The store will serve Rocks Green.

“Other will fear that footfall will be reduced in the town centre, which was already suffering from high car parking charges before the Covid-19 epidemic.

“In 2014, retail experts estimated a supermarket at Rocks Green could cost Ludlow town centre a quarter of its trade. This scheme is smaller, by about 29 per cent, but there is still likely to be a big hit on existing trade. Much of that will be from Tesco and Aldi. They can survive that. A more important worry is that trade will also be taken from independent retailers and Ludlow Market. If people do their main shop at Sainsbury’s, there is a very real possibility they won’t come into town at all.

“Once footfall drops, independent shops will close and market traders will drift away."

Councillor Boddington said that he hoped the scheme would be designed to blend into its countryside surroundings.

He said: "The Rocks Green roundabout on the A49 is currently a green and leafy gateway into Ludlow. I am concerned that if this development goes ahead, which I am sure it will, it will be a brash urban scheme, completely out of place in the south Shropshire countryside. More work needs to be done to soften the impact of the scheme.

“Those discussions will take place over the next few weeks.”

Work is expected to start on site later this year. All works will be managed by the developers, Blackfriars Property Group, with Sainsbury’s commencing their store fit out when the new store is completed next autumn.

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