News that Glossop’s Co-op Store is to cease trading within few weeks, after 100 years in the town, is a considerable blow to Glossop’s thriving high street, especially as it threatens the future of the town’s Post Office too.
While news that the rapidly expanding B&M chain will be investing in the town is welcome, it’s a pity that it is at the expense of the Co-op. It would be good to have both stores in the town.
Only a few weeks ago, Co-op Group Director Hazel Blears met members of High Peak Co-op Party at the Glossop store. I understand that members were assured that no decision on the store’s future would be taken until the new year, and that the company were looking at ways to improve the store, which were certainly needed.
Such a rapid change of heart is disappointing, especially Co-op staff who had helped to turn the store around so it was making a profit.
I have written to the Co-operative Group asking the company to reconsider, and for an explanation of the reasons behind last week’s decision.
Worryingly, it also raises questions about the future of the town’s Post Office, which now has 12 months to find new premises in the town. I am already in touch with the Post Office and will be pushing hard to ensure that new premises are found in Glossop town centre.
Older residents especially will be worried about the possible loss of the Post Office, Pharmacy and the Co-op Café, which many see as an important community meeting place.
Our high streets all need support. I’ve been working with local business owners to improve the poor broadband along the High Street and was delighted to see that happen a few weeks ago.
Currently Glossop High Street has a good range of both local and national shops, including some wonderful local, independent shops from butchers, JW Mettricks and Roy Green and greengrocers, Sowerbutts to clothes and books – as well as the indoor and outdoor markets.
Research shows that shoppers are most likely to visit their local High Street to use everyday amenities such as a bank, post office or pharmacy (65.5%), visit local independent shops (55.8%) or do the weekly food shop (35.1%).
This week (July 16 to 22), is Great British High Street Week and I was pleased to hear that Glossop High Street has been nominated for one of the Great British High Street Awards. If successful, there is a prize of up to £10,000 to spend in the community.
It would be a real shame if Glossop’s High Street won national recognition – just as it loses its Co-op store.