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Protest Speech by Janette RowlaTT of Chocolate Gourmet

Out of town development is direct competition for our town centre – it challenges consumers’ shopping habits and will clearly REDUCE footfall in Ludlow.

It is a fact that ‘out of town’ retail development has ruined our high streets and turned urban centres into ‘ghost or clone towns‘ There is plenty of evidence of this in market towns in our county and our neighbours Herefordshire & Powys.

Ludlow is a SPECIAL market town in this county. It has over 100 independent businesses.  Shropshire Council should recognise it’s special status and protect this unique town.  This will undoubtedly be affected by yet another supermarket.

Ludlow is know nationwide for its many small independent shops and its UNIQUE local retail offer. This will be jeopardised by this proposed out of town retail development.

How dare consultants suggest that town centre businesses will ONLY be affected by an 11% loss of revenue and describe this as MINOR.  However this is NOT the reality, other retail analysis shows that the real impact will be in the region of 25 - 30%.

The fixed costs of running any business are high.  Rent, business rates and utilities comprise a large % of costs and do not change whether you sell one or one-hundred items. You have to sell enough to cover the costs.   It is PROFIT that decides the viability of a business, NOT revenue.  

The profit that an independent shop makes is in the last 30% of customers, and might even be in the last 10% for some businesses. Whether the reduction is 30% or 10% is immaterial, enough damage will be done either way.

On the question of jobs, few jobs in a new supermarket will be truly new ones because most of that trade will be at the expense of other outlets in the town particularly smaller independent stores

In the real world even a 10% decrease in footfall & revenue (at the bottom end of so called experts' estimates) will mean that for some businesses their ENTIRE PROFIT is wiped out, rendering them unviable.

The worst case scenario is closure of independent shops, which quickly turns into the downward spiral evident in so many towns around the country.

Evidence proves money spent in local independents reinforces the strength of that town’s economy but money spent in national conglomerates simply disappears from the area.

Any development should be for the benefit of the town not the detriment.