Ludlow councillors have spoken out about plans to change the former maternity ward in Ludlow into units for small businesses.

Tracey Huffer, Shropshire Councillor for Ludlow East, and Andy Boddington, Shropshire Councillor for Ludlow North, have said they are giving their full backing to the plans.

Coun Boddington said: “The former maternity unit was in a state of decay.

“It has taken a lot of work to make it fit for use and the conversion has been carried out very sympathetically.

“The closure of the maternity unit was fiercely opposed and rightly so. We would like to see more health services provided in Ludlow rather than people having to travel to Shrewsbury or Hereford.

“East Hamlet, which is where the hospital is located, needs new investment. That is being provided SY8 Studios, which will host Gather, Hundred House Coffee and a private art studio for Ed Godrich.

“There has been something of an outrage on social media where people have argued that the new studios will disrupt work at the hospital. It won’t.

“This is not going to be a local boozer. The public space is located away from the hospital. Drinks will be served as they might be in any café.

“This is a win for the NHS which no longer has to support a decaying historic building. It is a win for the community which gets jobs, experience, training and artistic space.”

Tracey Huffer, Shropshire Councillor for Ludlow East, which borders the hospital, said:

“I am particularly excited by the way that Gather and Hundred House Coffee want to work with the community and with young people. There is no artistic space in this part of Ludlow after the closure of Loudwater Studios a few years ago.

“The team at Gather and Hundred House have a lot of ideas, including running arts events for families and young people. People who work in cafes and other venues will be trained in the art and skills of coffee making. It is hoped that there will be apprenticeships for young people.

“This is a big win for the local community.”