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Customers set to 'turn backs' on Cinderford Co-op over its repeated legal challenges

By The Citizen  |  Posted: March 19, 2014

Campaigners want more choice in Cinderford and therefore want Asda to be developed

Comments (6)

CO-OP bosses have been told customers are “turning their backs” on its Cinderford store due to its repeated legal challenges over new supermarket plans.

Proposals for an Asda store at Steam Mills Road have been approved by Forest of Dean planners twice - but the Co-op claims they are against regulations and have appealed to the High Court.

Councillor Patrick Molyneux, leader of Forest of Dean District Council, said the latest appeal “comes as a surprise” after a successful challenge in 2012 cost the council more than £200,000.

He has written to Co-op’s interim chief executive Richard Pennycook, to express growing frustration.

Mr Molyneux said: “It has been brought to my attention that Midcounties Co-operative has recently lodged a Judicial Challenge of this council’s decision to grant planning permission for a new food store.

“This is the second legal challenge that Co-op has mounted against this authority in a short space of time. This ongoing legal action to attempt the prevention or delay of further retail expansion is not only harmful to the town, but potentially damaging to your own store’s future.

“You may already be aware of the huge public support that a new foodstore has from the people of Cinderford and I suspect the impact of local anger over the Co-op’s behaviour must affect your store’s staff morale and sales.

“The legal costs we have incurred are met from local taxpayers and many are now turning their back on your store in protest.”

He has encouraged Co-op to accept the council’s democratic decision after the planning committee unanimously approved the returned application in January, taking into account the judge’s comments from the previous appeal.

A spokesman for Midcounties Co-operative, said: “Having reviewed the planning application submitted by Asda and following the decision made by the district council, we still feel that the plans for Cinderford are unsound and go against regulations.

“We remain committed to Cinderford town centre and its residents and are therefore challenging the decision based on these concerns.”

Campaign group We Want an Asda in Cinderford has around 1,700 members who are backing proposals for a new supermarket because it wants more choice in the town.

Spokesman Amanda Watkins said: “Asda is the third supermarket to try and nobody else is going to waste money trying to go up against Co-op to come here.”

The council will be defending its decision and Mr Molyneux said Cinderford is long overdue a new supermarket.

Forest of Dean MP Mark Harper backs the district council’s decision and raised the issue in the Houses of Parliament earlier this month.

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  • zinboya  |  March 19 2014, 10:15AM

    HI, topshop, Its what they call snooping on a Rival. (SPYING)

    |   1
  • topshop  |  March 18 2014, 7:31PM

    Can I ask why a lot of the Co-op staff do their shopping in Lidi? I have personally seen several of their staff shopping there if fact some of the management too!!

    |   4
  • MrGarnet  |  March 18 2014, 7:13PM

    When in Cinderford I use the Lidl store much better value. The Co=Op is very much in the past and needs more imaginative management. The way they have pushed up legal costs is beyond the pale.

    |   2
  • thestig2  |  March 18 2014, 6:12PM

    You only have to look at Cinderford to see the decline of of the town over the years due to so called caring Coop. Chemist, travel agent, post office just some of the places gone and now coop own. what's the town going to be like in 5 years, no one wants to invest. sorry Cinderford people but the town sucks, (No offence). look at Lydney, thriving town always expanding and new shops, why cause Coop cant stop as not only supermarket in Lydney. Its not about "We remain committed to Cinderford town centre and its residents", be honest its about profit and how much Asda will take away from Coop pockets. but we the people want Asda as saves us travelling to Glos every week. So back off and allow Cinderford to have a new life.

    |   6
  • FoDWeather  |  March 18 2014, 2:56PM

    It's a shame the councillor doesn't do his homework. Writing to Richard Pennycook is all well and good, but he is Chief Executive of the Coop Group who do not own the Cinderford store and have no say in how it carries on its business. Rather, he should write to the chief executive of the Midcounties Cooperative who do own the store, and his name is Ben Reid.

    |   6
  • GlosAnarchy  |  March 18 2014, 1:39PM

    Hang on a second here, would not chazda do exactly the same if the council turned down their application?

    |   3