Bitter blow for Leeds suburb as its only large food store closes - with 21 jobs also going

Campaigners in a west Leeds suburb have been dealt a bitter blow by news that the only supermarket in the town centre is set to close, with the loss of dozens of jobs.

Friday, 18th March 2016, 12:51 pm
Updated Friday, 18th March 2016, 3:01 pm
MP Rachel Reeves and councillor Alison Lowe, pictured on Armley Town Street in 2015, discussing how to tackle street drinking issues with local businessman Steven Etherington. Picture Scott Merrylees.

Armley Town Street’s branch of Co-op Food is due to close at the end of April.

MP Rachel Reeves has condemned the closure, which she says happened without any consultation or notice.

The MP has recently spearheaded efforts to rejuvenate the area by clearing up long standing issues like street drinkers, litter and anti-social, behaviour, and promoting a business forum to bring confidence to local trade and traders.

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The store will close its doors by the end of next month,

“Without any consultation or notice, the Co-op have decided to withdraw from one of the most deprived areas in Leeds, leaving it without a large food store and making 21 local people redundant,” Ms Reeves said.

“This was [confirmed] after writing to [the] head of retail at the Co-operative, about rumours concerning the branch’s future.

“I condemn this closure in the strongest possible way.

“Whilst other high street names are working to improve the area, this move by the Co-op was taken in spite of the efforts the community has made in recent months to re-invigorate Armley Town Street.

“This is an appalling decision that will devastate a community which has stayed loyal to the Co-op for many years.

“I am now seeking an urgent meeting with senior executives to see what options, if any, can be found to change their minds or at least mitigate the closure on local people.”

The YEP has reported recently that massive grass roots efforts are being made to clean up the Armley area - which suffers from high unemployment - and boost investment and local trade.

New curbs on street drinking are set to be introduced and the recently formed All Together Armley group is organising events aimed at creating better cohesion and community confidence.

A spokesperson for The Co-operative Food said: “We can confirm that our store in Town Street, Armley, will close at the end of April.

“The decision to close the store was taken with the greatest reluctance and it is not, in any way, a reflection on the commitment and hard work of the store team.

“We would like to thank our shoppers for their valued custom over the years.”