Essex Co-op set to expand
A SUPERMARKET in a small Essex town could be given a “state of the art” facelift as it bids to fight off potential competition from one of its rivals.The Co-op is set to extend and improve its Fiveways store in Manningtree, England's smallest recorded town, in a bid to enhance its position in the local community.
A SUPERMARKET in a small Essex town could be given a “state of the art” facelift as it bids to fight off potential competition from one of its rivals.
The Co-op is set to extend and improve its Fiveways store in Manningtree, England's smallest recorded town, in a bid to enhance its position in the local community.
The news comes as retail giant Tesco finalises a planning application to build a store on land it owns in the town in the face of strong opposition from some residents, who fear such a store would threaten local traders.
The planned development for the Co-op's Riverside Avenue site includes an extension to the front of the store that incorporates a two storey café with a first floor balcony overlooking the river, giving customers “panoramic views” across the Stour Valley.
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Richard Samson, chief executive of the East of England Co-op, said he was optimistic the “first class” plans would meet with residents' approval.
He said: “We are hoping our planning application will be well received by the council and by local people.
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“Our Fiveways store has been serving thousands of local people for 16 years and the modernised supermarket will provide state of the art shopping facilities.”
The planned refurbishment, which would create additional jobs on top of the 95 existing staff, is the next stage of a £40 million development programme unveiled last year.
By increasing the floor space by more than 4,000 square feet, there would be more space for fresh fruit and vegetables, fresh meat, chilled and frozen food, groceries and beers, wines and spirits.
The in-store Post Office would also be refurbished and relocated to the rear of the store.
The plans were warmly welcomed by Manningtree mayor Lee Lay-Flurrie, who said it would be good for the town and the wider area if the Co-op could expand and improve.
She said: “It's excellent news. Everyone looks upon the Co-op as being a benevolent superstore - it's not overwhelming and it is very considerate to the rest of the town. We welcome it with open arms.”
She said it would provide a “much, much, improved service” in Manningtree and she supported it whole-heartedly.
She added: “I want our town to be an historic town with lots of little shops which it has now. I don't want them to be pushed out by a big greedy corporation like Tesco.”
A spokesman for Tesco declined to comment on the plans but said the company was focused on its own “great scheme”, which is set to be submitted to planning officials next month.