AFTER six years, of debate and speculation and delays construction of a new supermarket on the outskirts of Ludlow has finally been given the green light by planners.

The Sainsbury’s store at Rocks Green could open as early as next year after members of Shropshire Council’s southern planning committee unanimously voted to approve the final designs of the scheme – more than six years after the plans first emerged.

Up to 150 jobs are set to be created by the new store, which will be built alongside a petrol station and a new mini roundabout on Duncow Road.

The reserved matters application which has now been approved sets out the size and design of the building, which was controversially granted outline planning permission in February 2017.

The supermarket will include an Argos and will be served by 169 car parking spaces, along with four electric vehicle charging points.

But Councillor Andy Boddington, who represents Ludlow North, criticised the developer for making the scheme too car-centric. In a statement submitted to the committee ahead of the meeting, Councillor Boddington said: “This development could have been built in the 1960s or 70s for all the regard it has to active travel.

“It is not a 21st century development. It is not a development that Sainsbury’s or Ludlow can be proud of. This is a car first development.”

Criticising the lack of a bus stop or wheelchair access from the main road and limited number of cycle racks, he said it was “one of the most unsustainable developments to be built in Shropshire for many years”.

Committee members voiced concerns about bright lighting and tree planting, with Councillor Madge Shineton urging the developer not to opt for “football stadium lights” the likes of which she said have caused problems in her division of Cleobury Mortimer.

Turning to the landscaping plans, Councillor Cecilia Motley said: “With the greatest respect to Mr Sainsbury’s, supermarkets are not a thing of beauty.

“Please could there be a proper planing plan which actually enables the softening of that rather gruesome supermarket building.”

The application was approved after a five-minute discussion, with members agreeing with the recommendation of planning officers to grant permission for the scheme.

It is expected that the store and petrol station will be open in the autumn of 2021 with work starting early next year.