Two members of the Conservative Commission into Small Shops on the High Street were in Ludlow last month meeting representatives of local business groups - including Paul Delves, managing director of award-winning forecourt and supermarket operator Harry Tuffins.

The purpose of the meeting, which included Philip Dunne, MP for Ludlow, and James Lowman, chief executive of the Association of Convenience Stores, was to hear views and take evidence to feed into the Commission’s work.

Dunne said: "Small shops bring enormous benefits to Ludlow and market towns all over the country. Small independent shops and larger independent supermarket stores like Harry Tuffins all provide a diversity of shopping experiences which attract visitors, stock local produce, employ local people and provide a vital service to the local community."

Delves said his company had invested in Ludlow by building a new store and filling station - which won the Best Main Route site category in the Forecourt Trader 2007 awards, presented to manager Ed Prosser.

"We believe we provide something different to major multiples by offering local products - many of which come from within 25 miles of the store," he said.

"As local people we have a stake in the community, and I hope the Commission recognises the unique role of independent retailers, and comes up with recommendations to support our development." The Commission’s report is due in the spring.