UPDATED: Knaresborough Co-op to close and Lidl to take over site
Knaresborough’s Co-op supermarket will close next month and the store will be taken over by Lidl, it has been revealed.
There are fears the move will force one of the town’s two Post Office branches, which is located inside the building, to shut, as well as the on-site Boots pharmacy.
Harrogate and Knaresborough MP Andrew Jones has called for the German supermarket chain to keep them within the store following the closure of the Co-op on November 25.
A spokesman for the Co-op said the company would try and relocate as many of the branch’s 31 staff as possible to surrounding stores, however they are all at risk of redundancy.
He said: “I can confirm that we have agreed to sell our food store in Knaresborough to Lidl. The Co-operative Group continually reviews its retail estate, and we have made the decision to focus on smaller convenience stores and sell those trading outlets that do not align with our strategy.
“All staff will transfer to the new operator, and it will continue to trade as a Co-operative store until it transfers to Lidl. However, we understand that following completion of the acquisition, the store will be closed for an extended period of time whilst building works are carried out. Regrettably, this means that the staff at this store are at risk of redundancy.
“We are working closely with Lidl to ensure that all staff affected by the transfer are consulted in the appropriate manner, whilst attempting to relocate as many staff as possible to surrounding Co-operative Food stores. The consideration to sell the store is in no way a reflection on the hard work and commitment from colleagues working at the Knaresborough store.”
Lidl already has a store on York Road, in Knaresborough.
It is not yet known what will become of the existing site, however there are rumours it will be turned into housing or will remain as a Lidl, with the Co-op being turned into an Aldi supermarket.
A resident, who did not wish to be named, said: “The rumour is the Lidl site will become a housing estate, which means we will end up with fewer amenities and more houses.
“The Co-op has been there around 30 years and it’s got a Post Office and Boots chemist, which local people use regularly.
“If we lose the Post Office there is only a small one left on the high street.
“I have written to our MP Andrew Jones expressing my concern at losing these services.”
Five years ago Mr Jones, councillors and residents led a campaign to bring a new Post Office to Knaresborough following the closure of branches in Stockwell Lane and Aspin. In June 2011 a Post Office Local opened in the Co-op.
Mr Jones said: “It would be a backward step for us to lose the Chain Lane Post Office and also the in-store pharmacy. They are both popular and well-used. It is important again that all those who fought so hard come together again to ensure that it continues in the new Lidl store.
“I have written to the UK Managing Director of Lidl, Mr Ronny Gottschlich, to press for Lidl to keep the Post Office and the pharmacy open when they take control of the store. In that letter I have made the case for the Post Office Local, but also called for a meeting with Mr Gottschlich so I can emphasise face-to-face just how valuable this service is for the 15,000 residents of Knaresborough. I have also written to the Chief Executive of Post Office Ltd to ensure they are talking to Lidl about retaining the Post Office.”
The Knaresborough Post has contacted Lidl for a comment, but the German supermarket chain has yet to respond.