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8:30am Wednesday 28th August 2013 in Letters
WITHOUT seeing the detailed plans, it would be hard to make a final judgement.
But the plan to use the Lawnside area for a supermarket seems to pose some fundamental problems.
The only access has to be via Bye Street, which anyone who uses it will know, is narrow and already very crowded with traffic.
Without a means to deal with this, the additional traffic generated by shoppers and delivery vehicles is likely to be a fatal obstacle.
Although the additional parking provided at Lawnside would be a welcome relief, the shops and supermarket will, nonetheless, draw trade away from the Homend, Market Place, and High Street, all of which are suffering already.
Ledbury is a small market town which was never designed and built for 21st century traffic and retail.
That’s its attraction to visitors who make a welcome contribution to the town’s income.
I think it’s time the planners accepted that fact, and that there is no place for a modern shopping mall anywhere near the town centre.
If Ledbury is to have a shopping mall to compete with surrounding towns and cities, then it has to be on the bypass, well away from the centre to avoid the damage that would otherwise ensue to Ledbury’s charm to visitors.
As it is, the Tesco is too small, with a limited range of goods, no filling station and inadequate parking. The Cooperative is similarly limited and also fails to attract the shoppers who wish to take economic advantage of Tesco’s products.
I’m aware that many shoppers, pressed for time and money, travel regularly to large supermarkets in Hereford, Worcester, Gloucester and Cheltenham, and avoid Ledbury almost entirely.
And there is also the huge and increasing factor of online retail which means some people never shop in Ledbury town centre unless forced.
MEL LOCKIE Ledbury
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