LIBERAL Democrats in Whickham, Gateshead, have won a commitment from the Co-op to consult residents on the future of the local Somerfield store.
The Co-op are in the process of buying Somerfield but the area’s Liberal Democrats are concerned that, with a Co-op store already in Whickham, the Somerfield branch on Oakfield Road could be closed.
Councillor Peter Maughan wrote to the Co-operative’s Chief Executive Peter Marks to seek assurances about the future of the store.
“In his reply, Mr Marks said that the government’s competition regulators would take a decision about whether or not to allow the takeover of Somerfield,” said Peter. “He was unable to give any guarantees about the future of the store.
“However, he did assure me that the Co-op would consult residents about any closure proposals.
“We have argued all along that if the Co-op buys Somerfield but decides to close the Whickham branch, a new buyer should be found as quickly as possible so that the jobs remain and residents are able to shop locally.
“We are pleased they have said that they will consult residents.”