Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting LU NEWS to 80360 or e-mail us
Blow as £1.7m lottery bid fails for Ludlow town centre
UP to 100 jobs in Ludlow are at risk as the town tries to come to terms with a massive hammer blow.
The Heritage Lottery Fund has rejected a £1.7 million bid that would have transformed the town centre.
It was also claimed that the funding would have protected or created more than 100 local jobs and boosted Ludlow as a major tourist attraction.
If it had been successful, it was also predicted that the project would have injected £6 million into the local economy.
It has been worked on for the past four years and was designed to help protect the historical heritage of the town.
The work would have included the restoration of the Town Walls, improvements to the riverside bread walk and Castle Gardens and a major restoration of The Buttercross.
This would have seen The Buttercross used as an education and interpretative centre – without which any bid would have not qualified for Heritage Lottery Support.
Ludlow Town Council had to secure £120,000 funding in order to be eligible and has utilised money from Shropshire Council’s Market Towns Revitalisation Scheme.
It is not clear if this funding can now be used elsewhere or will be lost.
A full reason for the decision of Heritage Lottery chiefs will be given in writing, but one of the reasons is that it was not considered that all of the elements came together as a whole.
As there is already a museum and a visitor centre, there were reservations also that there would be insufficient visitor uptake to the Heritage Interpretation Centre.
“This is a bitter blow to the town as the works to the various elements are much-needed,”
said town clerk Veronica Calderbank.
An attempt will be made to salvage as much as possible from the situation and a separate bid will be submitted immediately for the Town Walls and skills training elements.
But it leaves the town council hoping that its insurers will pick up the tab for vital repairs to The Buttercross, which has been cordoned off after the appearance of a crack in the walls.
A £5 million bid for Heritage Lottery funding will be lodged next year to renovate St Laurence’s Church and calls had been made for this to be submitted jointly with the town council application.
However, this was rejected and the council decided to go it alone.
Councillor Martin Taylor- Smith, who represents Ludlow South on Shropshire Council, said it was too early to digest the full implications.
“The town is going to have to pick itself up, dust itself down and look at ways to move things forward,” he said.