Store closure is like ‘low blow’ for area

Cllr John Shearman EMN-150329-201252009
Cllr John Shearman EMN-150329-201252009
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A supermarket closure has been described as a ‘punch below the belt’ by councillors who are trying to regenerate the area.

The Co-op in Lincoln Road, Millfield, will shut on September 26, leading to the loss of four full time and 17 part time jobs.

Park ward councillors John Shearman and Richard Ferris said the supermarket was a lifeline to residents.

Cllr Shearman said: “We have a full range of shops in the area, but there are things you can only get in the Co-op in the area. One lady said to me ‘what do we have to do now - go to Sainsbury’s on Oxney Road, or go into town?’

“We are working hard to revitalise the area and get more people and footfall into Millfield, and this is like a punch below the belt.”

Cllr Ferris said: “The shop serves a lot of people, many at the elderly end of the spectrum who do not have cars, and rely on the shop.

“We know what happens when you have empty units - it attracts graffiti and anti-social behaviour, and before you know it the place looks run down.

“We need variety on Lincoln Road, and that includes a quality food store.”

Brian Gascoyne, chairman of the Millfield and New England Regeneration Partnership (MANERP) said: “It is a great pity a respected organisation need to pull out of the area. It is very detrimental to Millfield for something like this to happen.”

A spokesman for the Co-op said: “The decision to close our Lincoln Road food store has been taken with the greatest reluctance. It is due to our ongoing store review process and our strategy to grow our convenience business.

“Its closure is not, in any way, a reflection on the commitment and hard work of the food store team.

“Every effort is being made to relocate the 4 full-time and 17 part-time colleagues or to help them find alternative employment.”