ANGRY LOCALS have joined forces to battle the closure of Hall Green’s Co-op store – a move that will leave 37 people out of work.
The shop has been ‘at the heart of the community’ for seven years, but the company is set to pull the plug on its tenure on Saturday, May 21 – citing viability issues.
The news has come as a massive blow for regular store users who have now launched a campaign to fight the planned closure.
Members of the community-led organisation WeareB28 have already secured more than 700 signatures on their online petition – but they want more.
Steve Gove-Humphries, chairman of the community-led organisation told The Observer: “Hall Green Parade will be destroyed by the closure and it’s going to have an absolutely profound effect on the local business area.
“This has come as a huge shock to the community – people have been using this branch for years, not to mention the people who will now be out of work.
“We are calling for answers and hope this petition will force the Co-op to sit up and take notice.”
The residents have the support of local councillors – including that of Coun John Clancy, leader of Birmingham City Council – for their battle.
In addition to standard levels of service – the Co-op and its ‘superb’ staff – also go the extra mile for the local community, according to Mr Gove-Humphries.
“The store is surrounded by sheltered housing and care homes and is really supportive to vulnerable people and those with learning difficulties who rely on the helpful and caring staff,” he added.
“It also features The Friendly Corner – a scheme run by Hall Green United Church to cook one meal, once a week for people in the Hall Green community.
“I’m saddened and concerned that these vulnerable people will really suffer when the store closes its doors and hope maybe Co-op will listen to our pleas.”
A spokesperson for Co-op Food said: “We can confirm that our store in Stratford Road, Hall Green, will close on the 21 May.
“The Co-op regularly reviews the viability of its stores in order to offer a compelling and convenient shopping experience.
“The decision is not, in any way, a reflection on the commitment and hard work of the store team.
“Colleagues have been informed, and every effort is being made to find alternative positions. We would like to thank shoppers for their valued custom over the years.”