By Local Democracy Reporter Mike Sheridan

A COUNCILLOR has hit out at plans to build a new supermarket in Ludlow.

“We don’t need it!” was the message from one town councillor, as plans for a new supermarket in Ludlow split opinion at a meeting of the town council.

Developers for the proposed new M&S Food Hall on land to the south of Sheet Road, Ludlow made the case for the project to a mixed reception during a full session of Ludlow Town Council on Monday, December 11.

A previous application  was withdrawn earlier this year following strong criticism of the proposed building from residents.

Now with updated designs, the reheated scheme came under the spotlight at a meeting of the town council as councillors grilled representatives from planning agent Berrys and would-be operator Marks and Spencer, who said they had responded to previous concerns with improvements.

Lynn Scott, Head of Town Planning at Marks and Spencer, told the meeting the new design had been specifically tailored to Ludlow.

“We’ve taken on the feedback about the original store design and we pretty much realised that was not acceptable for Ludlow and we want to do something different,” she said.

“In terms of [the new] design it’s something I think we can be very proud of, if it does get planning consent,  and we hope to work with the M&S design team to ultimately get something is great for the brand but also great for Ludlow.”

Paul Turner, representing architects Corstorphine & Wright, said the look of the building had been “pulled back” from the original concept, with darker materials and a broken roofline to minimise the impact of the building on views of the area.

“The initial design was basically a big white box and if you look at the area of Ludlow it was basically an alien form, that is the standard M&S which is rolled out into most places in the country,” he said.

Councillors also raised questions about the need for the store, given the existence of several large supermarkets already operating in the town, and the possible impact on independent retailers in the town centre.

“I don’t care what it looks like, we don’t need it,” said Cllr Robin Pote, representing the Corve Ward.

“How does money spent in a large supermarket benefit the local community? Surely the money goes out of the community and to the parent company?” he asked.

Representatives responded that the scheme was expected to provide 70 jobs to the local economy, and would endeavour to support charities in the Ludlow area.

Other councillors were more enthusiastic, with Cllr Viv Parry stating it was a marked improvement on the previous version.

“I do like this new design, it’s a lot better. It looks like it’s part of the landscape instead of sticking out like a sore thumb like it was before,” she said.

The application will be decided by Shropshire Council in the new year.