Top of page.

Rochdale Liberal Democrats

We store cookies on your device to make sure we give you the best experience on this website. I'm fine with this - Turn cookies off

Rowen calls on Co-op to take over 'goldmine'

March 25, 2008 12:00 AM

Rochdale MP Paul Rowen has written to the Chief Executive of the Co-operative Group asking them to look into taking over an empty shop on 'The Cray' in the Town. Mr Rowen reacted after being contacted by Councillor Jean Ashworth and speaking to local residents. The shop was closed after the previous owner fell behind with her rent. It is owned by Rochdale Boroughwide Housing - an arms length management organisation.

Mr Rowen said: "I have been speaking to local residents on The Cray and they are quite rightly angry that they have lost their local shop. It is unfortunate that the shop has had to close and I hope that the Co-op will look at my proposition. This shop should be a goldmine and should be the hub of the community. I know that there are a lot of elderly residents who relied on this shop who have to travel a significant distance to their nearest shop. I hope that Co-op will take on board my concerns. This shop is right at the heart of the community and we should move to get it reopened at affordable prices and the Coop fits that bill."

Local Councillor Jean Ashworth said: "When this shop closed, feelings ran high on The Cray. We now need to move on and I hope that Rochdale Boroughwide Housing do their best to find a new tenant as soon as possible. I know from the Post Office closures what an effect the loss of a decent local shop has. I hope that we can resolve this situation quickly so that local people get back their local shop."

Paul Rowen said in his letter to Peter Marks, Chief Executive of the Co-operative Group: "I would be grateful if you would please look into the possibility of taking over an empty shop in my constituency. The Cray Newsagents provided a vital service in Milnrow, Rochdale - a deprived area that has no other shopping facilities. Sadly it closed down last month after the owner fell into arrears with the rent. The area served by this shop fits every indicator of social deprivation, from low car ownership to free school meals entitlement. It ought not be left to become a 'food desert'.

"I am aware of the Co-operative Group's long-standing commitment to social inclusion, and can think of no-one better to take the site over. Rochdale is after all the home of the co-operative movement! I am confident that the shop would be profitable - it was well-used and much loved by a large number of people from the estate. On the day it closed, fifty local residents protested at the site. Elderly residents have expressed their concern that they cannot possibly walk to the nearest alternative store, and so will lose their independence. I would be happy to discuss this further with you or a member of your team. I have copied in my colleague, Councillor Jean Ashworth, who has met with local residents who are worried and frightened by the closure."