County planners will shortly hear proposals for a new supermarket and petrol filling station at Rock’s Green, Ludlow. See planning application (14/04052/SCR) at 
Great news for the town, is what most of us are saying. At last some proper competition in food- and general retailing!
For more than a decade, Tesco has been the dominant retail force in Ludlow. With that grip further tightened through Tesco‘s buyout of our two “One Stop” convenience stores. Ludlow is now just another “Tesco Town”. And that’s bad for consumers, and needs remedying.
But alas, the usual suspects – the local traders and the chamber of commerce – are spouting off, rallying against these exciting new plans for a retail revival in our disadvantaged rural town.
No businessman should need reminding that we live in a free market economy. Not the place for a protectionist, anti-competitive, anti-choice attitude.
Have a look at the £20 note, guys. Whose face is on it (other than the Queen’s)? Yes, it’s Adam Smith! Father of laissez-faire, free market economics. 
Smith (1723-1790), the leading economist of his time, was famous for his economic policy of “non-interference” by government. A policy followed, more or less, to this day. A policy in which the market rules; with minimal taxes, subsidies and regulation.
This town is crying out for retail competition. And if this new store (my money’s on it being a Sainsbury’s) can bring competition to the non-food sector as well – with more choice in clothing and footwear, stationery, gardening, kitchenware and electricals – then all the better.
Oh, and someone please have a quiet word with the town MP (and dashing City banker) Philip Dunne. He’s jumped lately on to this anti-competitive bandwagon.
Yet when Dunne founded Ottakar’s, his own nationwide chain of stores, he knew he too would be going head-to-head against many small independent shops. Tough, he said to them; that’s the nature of the game. And he was right.
Those businesses that won’t rise to new challenges are swept aside. That’s business.
Yet with his profits banked from selling Ottakar’s, how different Dunne’s tune is today! Really! What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, Philip!
The existing 22,000 sq ft Tesco store in Ludlow has been operating at 115% capacity since it opened. With perishable goods, intended for the store-room, left, for want of space, on trolleys in the shop aisles. Quite unacceptable.
And so often those fast selling lines and special offers are all sold out. “Sorry Out of Stock. Not available until xx date” say all the shelf notices. Tsk! How annoying!
While Thursday through Sunday, the Tesco car park is often choc-a-bloc. The number of spaces quite inadequate for all the customers using the store. We need another supermarket, pronto!
As for petrol competition, or lack of it, that’s a very sore point for local motorists, and for those passing through.
In the last 10+ years, this town has lost three petrol filling stations (Gravel Hill, Corve Street, Temeside) leaving just one on Foldgate Lane, which obviously realises its monopoly!
Have we forgotten the last fuel crisis when tanker drivers were threatening strikes?
Remember the frenzied buying and rationing at the pumps?
Signs reading “SORRY NO FUEL TIL NEXT WEEK”.
Not just inconvenient but in this rural area, downright dangerous, too.
When the country had many more petrol filling stations (PFS), their underground storage tanks served, in times of shortage, as ‘strategic reserves’. The closure of two thirds of our PFS has introduced further volatility to the pump price.
Previously, PFS were able to play the oil market; stockpiling fuel when the price was low, and so on. But with so few stations left, that can’t be done. While that price volatility is great for oil speculators, it’s very bad for motorists. 
South Shropshire is already one of the most expensive places in the West Midlands to fill up the car.  A new filling station, operated by a supermarket giant, may well alleviate that. More good news for Ludlow.
Say No! to the bullying small traders in the high street (and harp lane!)
Thumbs Up! to a new supermarket & petrol filling station from this household!
To Mr Simon Hoare (supermarket developer) we say: Bring It On!