Co-op refuses request to shut proposed new South Kirkby store early on weekends

The Co-op has refused a request to close a proposed new shop early on weekends, claiming the "unviable" idea would make it the only convenience store in the UK to do so.

Monday, 9th November 2020, 9:14 am

The supermarket's plan to develop a derelict old GP surgery on Barnsley Road in South Kirkby was due to be either approved or rejected last month.

Under current proposals, the shop would open from 7am to 10pm seven days a week.

Instead, Wakefield Council's planning committee asked the Co-op to consider closing the store at 6pm on Saturday and 4pm on Sunday before they approve the plan.

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An artist's impression of how the store will look.

Councillors expressed concern about the impact of noise on the shop's neighbours.

But ahead of a new discussion about the plans next week, the Co-op has flatly declined, insisting that closing so early on weekends would not be possible.

In a letter to the planning committee, their representatives Rothsay said they were willing to compromise and shut at 9pm on a Sunday, but would offer no further concessions.

They said: "The entire convenience store model across the entire UK is based on low volume, top-up shopping, open early in the morning until late at night.

"The only rare exceptions are city centre convenience stores who rely on the lunchtime trade and workers picking up a meal on the way home.

"All existing convenience stores in the area and indeed nationwide operate these longer hours, it is simply financially unviable to operate at the opening hours of large destination food stores which is now proposed by the planning committee."

The letter added that the issue of trading hours had "never once been raised" during the application process and that "no convenience store in the UK operates on the hours proposed".

It is the Co-op's second bid to develop the old medical centre, after its first application was rejected by the government two years ago.

Councillors will respond to the letter at a meeting next Thursday.

Local Democracy Reporting Service