Is there an empty shop problem in Ludlow? 


Due to the pandemic, Ludlow lost 20 shops in 2020 and has struggled to regain the previous tenants any new ones. In 2017, there were just seven empty units. Currently, there are many more empty shops than there ever used to be. In the town centre, 23 retail units and independent shops are vacant- either to let or shut down. In a small town like Ludlow, even the closure of one shop can affect the town’s economic health, employment rate and character. The town has taken a toll due to the recent closure of the Fruit Basket on King Street. 



The loss of these local enterprises can diminish job opportunities, creating a ripple effect on the overall economic health of the town. Moreover, independent shops are often more inclined to source goods locally, supporting local artisans and farmers, fostering a sustainable and connected economy.


Additionally, the emptiness of independent shops in a small town can have a profound impact on the local community. Beyond the obvious economic implications, such vacancies contribute to a sense of desolation and loss of identity. When these establishments close their doors, a void is left that chain stores or online retailers may struggle to fill. Independent shops often serve as cultural landmarks, reflecting the unique character of the town and fostering a sense of belonging among residents. 


Subsequently, there are signs of Ludlow reviving from its loss of shops. Tenants are moving into many of the closed units and refurbishing vacant shops. A recent development of the derelict Ludlow Maternity Hospital has been a controversial topic but Andy Boddington, a Shropshire councillor wrote, ‘It intends to offer “workshops, events, collaborations, contemporary culture” as part of a scheme to bring space for artists and small entrepreneurs to East Hamlet.’ This can do no wrong for the town, bringing character and authenticity back to Ludlow.