LEAVE our charity shops alone is the plea from a Ludlow councillor.

Vivienne Parry, a Ludlow town councillor and representative for the town on Shropshire Council, says that charity shops fill a vital role and enable many people to dress well.

Mrs Parry’s comments came after Tim Gill, Mayor of Ludlow and her fellow Shropshire councillor Andy Boddington said that enough was enough.

Both men praised the existing charity shops in the town centre but said that they did not want to see anymore.

But Mrs Parry said they filled a vital gap in a town where many people are struggling to make ends meet.

“I say leave our charity shops alone,” said Mrs Parry.

“They do a great job and are vital for many people.

“From what I can see the other clothes shops in Ludlow do well, but they are catering for the people that have money.

“There are many that so not and one of the things that Ludlow lacks are shops selling reasonably priced clothes.

“To find these kinds of places it is necessary to travel to towns like Hereford, Kidderminster and Worcester and many people cannot do that.”

Mrs Parry said that people of all ages use charity shops.

“I know many elderly people who shop in them and this also applies to younger people including those with families.

“Charity shops are a great way of enabling people who are better off to help others in the community as well as a good cause.

“Passing in good quality clothing so that it can be sold at a reasonable price to people who are less well off is an important form of redistribution.”

Mrs Parry said that she used charity shops and had also worked in one.

She disagreed with the idea that they provide unfair competition for traditional traders.

“Charity shops fill spaces in the town that would otherwise be empty and sell very little that is new.”

Mrs Parry believes that there is nothing worse for a town and its traders than to have empty shop fronts that look bad and give a bad impression.

“We know from the comments of the ‘in bloom’ judges that not having vacant shop fronts with the graffiti and other problems that go with this is good for the town,” she said.

Mr Boddington had said that there were eight charity shops in the town centre, but Mrs Parry said that contrary to what many people think the number has been falling.

“I have been looking at an old access booklet that listed 10 charity shops a few years ago and so the number has actually come down,” she said.

According to the Charity Retail Association there are more than 11,000 charity shops in the United Kingdom.

Research carried out by the Local Data Company for accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers into High Street retail trends found that 271 charity shops closed in 2017, but just 202 opened.

This net decline of 69 is almost double the net fall of 37 in the number of charity shops, when the same research was carried out in 2016.