Concerns over shop takeover in St Albans

The Co-operative Food

The Co-operative Food - Credit: Archant

A group of residents are upset that their local food shop is being taken over by another retailer.

The Co-operative Food store in New Greens, High Oaks, St Albans is being sold to convenience retailer Martin McColl.

Sionaidh Craigen, who lives in Cavan Drive, is one of the New Greens residents who is concerned the change will mean a smaller variety of groceries at a higher price.

She said: “The Co-op is not just a business, it is about community. I know a lot of people on the estate and everybody’s furious.

“We’re also cross about not being informed. It’ll just be another chain.

“The newsagent has worked very hard to build it up and get more and more bits and pieces in. For the area that’s the only general store that really stocks different things; it’s quite a big area and there’s lots of elderly people.

“We’ve been told that there will be less of a variety of stuff.”

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A McColl’s Retail Group spokesman said: “We now operate over 1,000 convenience stores across the UK and we have a long history and a proven track record of successfully integrating convenience stores into our estate.

“Whilst we are yet to make final decisions on the specific operations of the store, we would like to reassure customers and local residents that McColl’s will continue to provide a trusted and valuable community service in New Greens.

“We pride ourselves on our local community focus, offering a full range of amenities and neighbourhood services at competitive prices.

“We will continue to offer quality fresh vegetables, milk and chilled foods, alongside a full range of important daily products, providing customers with excellent value for money.

“We are also very excited by the prospect of the current employees joining us from the Co-op. As a business, we offer superb career opportunities with excellent training, and we look forward to welcoming our new colleagues to the McColl’s team.”

A Co-op spokesperson said: “I can confirm that our New Greens store will be sold. It will continue to trade as a convenience store and colleagues will TUPE transfer, resulting in no planned redundancies.

“The Co-op is moving forward with a clear purpose and momentum and, while this often involves the opening of new stores, sometimes we have to make difficult decisions.

“The decision to sell any store is taken after careful consideration and with great reluctance. It is no way a reflection on the hard work and commitment of colleagues. And, we would like to thank the community for its support over the years.”

Sionaidh has started a petition to save the Co-op, at