HEALTH, the environment and the pressure on local shops were the main issues that dominated the news agenda in a challenging 2019 for Ludlow.

Traders in the town are still waiting to find out what will happen of the Rocks Green site that has been earmarked for a new supermarket development.

Lack of any concrete news has done nothing to calm the nerves of shop keepers in the town who are already having to cope with low consumer confidence and the continuing pressure from online sellers.

However, the traders have put on a strong show in the run-up to Christmas that included a highly successful medieval fayre followed by three special markets in December.

Concern continues about the impact of new car parking charges that were introduced at the end of 2018. Traders and the town mayor Tim Gill say that the changes have had an impact upon trade.

The Friends of Ludlow Hospital have continued to invest with a new bladder scanner, and there has been an expansion of the kidney dialysis unit that now opens three days a week.

But concerns remain about the future of the hospital, and the scandal of maternity services in Shropshire took another turn with the leaking of a report that is expected to be published in full later this year

There have been major problems at the Ludlow Assembly Rooms as a planned refurbishment fell behind schedule and went over budget. Shropshire Council came to the rescue with additional funding, but concerns remain about the long-term future of the facility.

But there was better news on the arts front with another successful summer fringe festival at which prices were pegged in a bid to make the various entertainments accessible to as many people as possible.

The festival season started in May with the Spring Food Festival and Classic Car Show in the grounds of Ludlow Castle.

In September, the Ludlow Food Festival that has perhaps done more than any other single event to promote the town to a national and international audience was held for the 25th time and proved as popular as ever in Ludlow Castle.

A new service to help young people in the town with mental health problems was launched at the beginning of the year but again doubts remain about its long-term viability because of a lack of funding.

Green issues have had a high profile with a group from the town travelling to London to join climate protests by Extinction Rebellion and there was also a well-attended but peaceful climate change protest in the town in November.

Ludlow like the rest of the country was split by the Brexit issue but Philip Dunne was returned at the general election with a record majority.