Claims that Stafford is one of Britain's top ten "clone towns" have been condemned by its local MP.
A report has named Stafford as the third blandest town in the country.
It was held up as an example of a "clone town" with no character of its own, by an economic think tank.
The New Economics Foundation published the survey as a warning that chain stores were taking over high streets.
It called for more support for independent traders.
But the findings were questioned by David Kidney, Stafford's Labour MP.
He said: "I accept the drift of the report that big chain stores are buying up space in all major shopping centres so that local character is being eroded.
"But Stafford remains a delightful county town with a great deal of character to satisfy both local residents and visitors to our town."
He added: "I like the character around St Mary's Church and along Church Lane. The wonderful open space that Market Square offers is often filled with bustling activities that draw people into the heart of our town, not least the very successful monthly farmers' market."
But although the survey was flawed, it still made an important point, he said.
"We need to protect what we have that we prize and try to add to it. This does mean that we consumers should make choices that support our local traders."
The survey named Exeter as Britain's most characterless town, with Dumfries, in south-west Scotland, in second place. Burton on Trent, in Staffordshire, was tenth.
But Shirley, in Solihull, was highlighted as an area which had kept its own sense of identity despite pressure from chain stores and developers.