IT looks like the end of the road for opponents of the proposed new supermarket in Rocks Green on the outskirts of Ludlow.

The scheme for the supermarket and petrol station had been approved by Shropshire Council planners.

But it had been hoped that Communities Secretary Sajid Javid would call in the decision but this has been dashed.

So now Shropshire Council has formally granted outline planning permission for the scheme.

This gives permission for the supermarket and petrol station in principle.

The next stage is full planning permission and must be submitted to Shropshire Council within three years.

A detailed planning application will have to be submitted and when this is approved the construction will have to start within two years.

Restrictions to the planning permission have been put in place “to safeguard the vitality and viability of Ludlow town centre”.

No more than 25 per cent of the sales floor area of the store can be used for comparison goods, items like clothing, electrical goods, tools and garden equipment. The store cannot include a post office, dry cleaners, travel agents, optician or pharmacy without an application to vary the planning permission.

Before construction starts there will also need to be a traffic management plan and improvements to the road junction with the A4117.

As the scheme has been submitted by a developer, no supermarket has been specified for the site.

But whichever supermarket eventually emerges Andy Boddington, Shropshire Councillor for Ludlow North, who voted against the scheme, believes it is likely to have a major impact upon the town centre.

“Before the application was approved, Lidl wrote to Shropshire Council suggesting it was interested,” said Andy Boddington.

“The South Planning Committee was told that Sainsbury’s was also considering making an offer. We probably will not know which retailer will take up the site for some time.

“This proposal has divided Ludlow. I fear it will reduce footfall in the town centre, especially if it is a Sainsbury’s. Lidl might have less of an impact. But the store will offer more choice and may sell clothing.

“We certainly need a reasonably priced clothing retailer in Ludlow. We desperately need a second petrol filling station to compete with the Co-op and reduce the length of queues for fuel. We could even end up with three petrol stations.

“Now that outline planning permission has been given, we need to make this development the best we can. The last thing we want is an eyesore development on the edge of town.

“Whichever retailer comes to Rocks Green, however the problems with landscape and access are solved, this planning approval will change Ludlow more than any other since the town-centre Tesco was approved.

“With the huge rises in business rates, I fear for the future of Ludlow’s independent traders. That will mean that our town centre will become just like anywhere else – chain stores and charity shops.”

The ‘Love Ludlow’ campaign and Chamber of Trade fear that the new development will result shops having to close and jobs being lost in the town centre.”