Reaction: Co-op fate sealed

CO-OP will close and become apartments
CO-OP will close and become apartments

Residents have voiced their fears as it was decided that the Pocklington Co-op store would be redeveloped as retirement apartments despite opposition from the community.

Although the Co-op has yet to confirm the date of the George Street store’s closure, last week the fate of the site was sealed.

The Co-op site will now be redeveloped into 34 sheltered residential apartments for over 55s by McCarthy and Stone.

Many residents had hoped that the Co-op building would bought by another retail business to retain trade along the street.

A petition against the scheme gathered more than 900 signatures from residents.

Ann Moore, of Springfield Road, does almost all her shopping at the store and fears she will struggle to make it to the smaller Co-op, in Market Place.

She said: “I am devastated at the forthcoming closure of the lovely big Co-op.”

The 73-year-old has terminal cancer and says she has always found the staff at the Co-op to be “wonderful” and “very willing to help”.

She added: “I am very surprised another retailer has not come forward to buy this property, or several ones.

“I understand selling to McCarthy and Stone was a last desperate attempt. I signed the petition against building these flats along with many others.

“No thought seems to have been given by the council to the loss of the car park and the poor staff having to find another job locally. I use disabled spaces and when this store closes there are only two disabled spaces left in the middle of town and often these are filled by people with no disabled discs.

“I would like to thank the Co-op staff for their kindness over the past few years and wish them good luck in finding alternative employment.”

Members of the Western Area Sub Committee voted five to four to defer the proposal so a section 106 agreement can be drawn up.

David Hobson, of The Beeches, said: “This was in the face of clear opposition from the local community, in which the equivalent of one in four of all the households in Pocklington had signed a petition objecting and the Town Council had objected.”

He added: “There is also no consideration given to the balance between independent traders and large company shops in the town.”

The closure means the store’s 25 members of staff now face losing their jobs.

A Co-op spokesperson said: “We can confirm that our store at George Street is likely to close this year. The decision is not a reflection on the commitment and hard work of the store team. We would like to thank our shoppers for their valued custom over the years.”

The supermarket has been a Co-operative store since 2009. It was previously a Somerfield supermarket before the Co-operative took over the company seven years ago.

Steve Secker, regional managing director for McCarthy and Stone, said: “We are pleased that East Riding of Yorkshire Council has approved, subject to conditions, our plans for Retirement Living apartments in Pocklington.

“We’d like to thank the local community for their support throughout the application process and in particular those local residents who offered feedback on our designs during the consultation. We are now looking forward to getting onsite and starting work on the development and will ensure to keep people updated throughout the construction process.”