Ludlow hosts Action for Market Towns conference

A Shropshire market town has been praised as an example to others across the UK fighting the economic downturn.

Action for Market Towns is holding a two-day conference in Ludlow, looking at how small towns can thrive.

"You speak to people all over the country and they hear that great things are going on in Ludlow," chief executive Chris Wade said.

It has particularly developed a reputation for the quality of its restaurants and local food producers.

Mr Wade said: "You come to a town like Ludlow and you see it's very much turned itself around and is vibrant."

"But not all towns can have niches. A good way to think of your town is as a department store, with a whole range of things."

'Local effort'

The Action for Market Towns conference is being supported by the Big Lottery Fund, Shropshire Council and Ludlow Town Council.

Mr Wade said: "We've been very impressed by the things put in place by Shropshire Council to encourage local effort... and what that unlocks in terms of enterprising ideas to promote the town."

He added that developing town centres was as much about improving facilities for local people as encouraging visitors to spend money in town centres.

"There isn't a problem out there faced by one of our small market towns that somewhere else in the country hasn't already thought about and found a solution," he said.

Speeches, workshops and tours around Ludlow are among the items on the conference agenda.

Mr Wade said he expected about £100,000 to be spent by delegates in the town over the two days.

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