Blow for Castleford regeneration as Co-op plans to shut town centre store

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The Co-op has announced it will be closing its store in Castleford town centre.

The decision is another blow for the town as is undergoes a major £23m regeneration aimed at boosting visitor numbers.

The retailer has informed Wakefield Council that it plans to shut it’s main store on Carlton Street in July.

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A Co-op spokesperson said store staff have also been informed of the decision and are receiving support.

Co-op has announced plans to shut its store in Castleford town centre.Co-op has announced plans to shut its store in Castleford town centre.
Co-op has announced plans to shut its store in Castleford town centre.

The building is opposite the former Marks & Spencer building which closed in 2023 and remains vacant.

The council has confirmed will take over the Co-op building and include it in the revamp plans.

The local authority secured £23m of government Town Deal funding for Castleford in 2019.

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Much of the money is being spent on buildings and open spaces next to the river Aire and in the town centre.

The former M&S building in Castleford town centre remains vacant after the retailer left the town in 2023.The former M&S building in Castleford town centre remains vacant after the retailer left the town in 2023.
The former M&S building in Castleford town centre remains vacant after the retailer left the town in 2023.

Michael Graham, the council’s cabinet member for regeneration and economic growth, said: “The disappointment of big companies moving out of town centres isn’t unique to Castleford.

“We work really hard to try and keep brands in the town, but it is too often out of our hands and down to the national commercial decisions those companies make.

“The work we are doing to regenerate the town centre is aimed at trying to reverse the trend of household names moving out as well as attracting new businesses back into the heart of Castleford.”

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Tony Wallis, councillor for Castleford Central and Glasshoughton, said: “There have been rumours about this happening for a while.

Michael Graham, Wakefield Council's cabinet member for regeneration and economic growth.Michael Graham, Wakefield Council's cabinet member for regeneration and economic growth.
Michael Graham, Wakefield Council's cabinet member for regeneration and economic growth.

“It is really disappointing as the Co-op has very strong historic links to Castleford.

“Shops have opened, closed or relocated in Castleford for years and years.

“But the difference is, at the moment, there doesn’t seem to be any new businesses coming along to fill the empty units.

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“It’s very sad. We just hope that the masterplan for Castleford and the regeneration work that is taking place will be the catalyst that attracts businesses back to our town.”

Castleford Central and Glasshoughton councillor Tony WallisCastleford Central and Glasshoughton councillor Tony Wallis
Castleford Central and Glasshoughton councillor Tony Wallis

A Co-op spokesperson said: “The decision to sell any store is only taken after careful consideration, and an agreement has been reached with Wakefield Council to sell our Carlton Street site.

“The decision is in no way a reflection on the hard work and commitment of colleagues, who have been informed and are being fully supported.

“We are pleased that the site will support Wakefield Council plans to redevelop and regenerate the area, improving it for the local community and the future of the town centre.

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“Co-op is committed to supporting West Yorkshire communities, it operates or supplies more than 100 stores in the region and continually looks for new locations across the area to support its growth ambitions and where it can operate at the heart of local life to serve communities, conveniently.”

The Co-op building lies within the Heart of Castleford scheme, which aims to transform the area around Henry Moore Square into “one of Yorkshire’s premier public places”.

The area was left with a gaping hole when the M&S store shut last year as the company said it planned to invest in its other outlets across West Yorkshire.

Yvette Cooper, who is standing for re-election as Castleford’s Labour MP on July 4, said: "Time and again our town centres and high streets are being hit.

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"This is bad news from Co-op. After it was first rumoured, I met with both their regional and national officers to urge them to change their plans as we really want Co-op to stay in Castleford, so it is really disappointing that they are going ahead with this.

"I'm still calling on them to work with Wakefield Council to find other premises so they could re-open here in Castleford and also to support their hardworking and long-standing staff.

"But we also need urgent government action to scrap business rates for high street shops and to give our town centres proper support."

Matt Graham, M&S Regional Manager, said: “Shopping habits are changing, so we’re rotating our store estate to make sure we have the right stores to offer customers a brilliant shopping experience.”