RESIDENTS in Ludlow town centre believe that traders suffered rather than benefited from a running event that closed the town centre to traffic on a summer Saturday evening.

Major changes made at the last minute to the 10K run failed to satisfy some people living in the town.

Organisers believe that extra trade was brought to the town.

“My understanding is that there was additional trade in the town in the evening,” said Dermott Hayes, one of the organisers of the run.

But according to a survey it is said that the opposite happened as people kept away.

Juliet Diamond, who lives in Mill Street, believes that Ludlow is actually suffering because there are now too many events intended to raise the profile of the town and that these are becoming counterproductive.

“A growing number of residents believe that the town has reached saturation point and requires no more profile raising,” she said, adding that her information was that the evening was not a success.

“I canvassed the town centre pubs and restaurants on the impact that the event had on their takings on the same evening,” Juliet Diamond said.

“There was feed-back from the Charlton and information reported from Mortimers in Corve Street, the Thai, the Blue Boar, the Bull, the Queens and Wildwood.

“It seems that only the Church Inn maintained its usual customer support, while others were quiet. One description was that the town was dead.

“We are fighting on several fronts for Ludlow as we know it.

“One is the incipient creep of chain stores replacing independent shops, which are the heart and soul of the town.

“I fear that 'raising the profile of the town' has played significant part in this.”

She fears that an unintended consequence of the attempts to raise the profile of Ludlow is to change the character of the town and threaten the local businesses that are so important.

“Chain stores can pay high rents that local independent shops cannot afford,” added Juliet Diamond.

“Landlords are tempted by the immediate reward without taking into account that should the town simply become home to these stores, Ludlow's unique character will be lost leaving little attraction for visitors, at which point these chain stores will just pack their bags.

She says that there are many ways in which Shropshire Council could assist Ludlow rather than agreeing to events like the Saturday evening run.

“There are many things that Shropshire Council could do to support Ludlow,” added Juliet Diamond.

“A park and ride system that works well and is properly advertised; a reconsideration of the proposed increase in business rates and support of the services that continue to make the town the delightful place it is both for residents and visitors.

“I would like to question the decision to 'gift' to a commercial organisation, at the expense of the residents, the use of Ludlow town centre for four hours on a Saturday evening, or indeed any evening.”

Following representations the organisers made changes to the run to reduce the level of disruption in the town centre.

Dermott Hayes said that his information was that there had been additional business brought into the town by the event.

“We are passionate about Ludlow and want to make sure that the town thrives. I would be keen to talk to businesses that are unhappy.

“Our intention is to do this event in future and we want to work with the Chamber of Commerce and businesses in Ludlow.”