BUSINESSES have welcomed the return of a popular motor racing event.

The Three Shires Stages Rally will once again take over Ledbury after being cancelled in 2022.

Independent shopkeepers have welcomed the news, which is expected to bring hundreds of visitors to the town.

Annette and Steve Crowe, who own Past and Present Jewellers, said: “It is great for the town, the more events taking place encourage people to visit Ledbury maybe for the first time.

“They then fall in love with our wonderful town and come for a longer stay.

“All of which is great for business.”

Ledbury Reporter: Cars fill the town centre during the 2021 rallyCars fill the town centre during the 2021 rally (Image: Harold Sparrey)

Tracey and Steve Powell took over the Brewery Inn in March and are looking forward to welcoming punters during the rally.

Mrs Powell said: "I attended the rally last year as a spectator and from what I saw people absolutely loved it.

"The town was full of onlookers and quite a few of those drinking in the local pubs, there was a real buzz in the town and lots of positive vibes from people.

"So yes, definitely looking forward to it again!"

Ceci Paolo, a food and fashion store on Ledbury’s High Street, won’t be open during the race but owner Patricia Harrison is excited nonetheless.

She said: “As far as Ceci Paolo is concerned, there is little direct impact on our business.

“As far as the town is concerned, however, I think the event will help to raise its profile and result in more visitors to the town.

“I’m sure there will be a lot of social media coverage which will show the high street in all its glory!”

Ledbury Reporter: The ceremonial start of the 2021 rallyThe ceremonial start of the 2021 rally (Image: Harold Sparrey)

The Three Shires Rally was cancelled last year due to difficulties finding an alternative date after the event was postponed due to the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

This year, the ceremonial start will take place in Ledbury town centre at 4pm on Saturday, September 16.

The rally itself will begin in Much Marcle the following day, with the 60-mile route passing through parts of Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Gloucestershire.

It has been organised by Cheltenham Motor Club, with assistance from local motor clubs, and is once again sponsored by Hills Ford, a dealership with branches in Kidderminster and Malvern.

In the past, concerns have been raised about the road closures required to host the rally.

Keith Richings, who will serve as the clerk of the course for the event, has emphasised the importance of working with the community to make the event a success for everyone.

He said: "This event is about teamwork from our end, but the event would not be possible without the enthusiastic support of the local community and authorities, our sponsors like Hills Ford, but it’s about every single person who contributes to the event that will make it successful.

Mr Richings will be supported in his duties by Dan Lister, Pete Henness, and Kevin Smith.