Heart of England Co-op to close Rugby store.
Like other Rugby residents, the Save Oakfield Group is saddened to hear about the impending closure of the Co-op’s town centre store. There is seldom an ideal time to lose a job, but as the Christmas season approaches the timing of these closures couldn’t be much worse. We wish all Co-op employees affected good luck in their future job searches.
Unfortunately the Co-op’s own staff are just the most recent and most directly affected victims of the Heart of England Co-op’s single-minded and non-collaborative approach to maximising profits at the expense of the community.
The Save Oakfield Group has been fighting the Heart of England Co-op for a year. For those unaware the Co-op’s current plans for Rugby, in addition to the closure and presumed sale of their Rugby Town Centre store, they have been pursuing plans to destroy Oakfield Recreation Ground in favour of the construction of 60+ houses in an area identified by Rugby Council as the most lacking in open and green amenity space in the Borough.
For over a year the Co-op has refused to communicate with local residents and have rejected all overtures for constructive dialogue. They have challenged the group’s registration of the recreation ground as a Town Green in spite of huge community support, even though it has existed as a public park for over 40 years. Should their planning application be approved they have also refused to address local housing policy needs like adequate social housing in keeping with the Borough’s Core Development Strategy.
Our experience indicates their aim is for one thing and one thing alone. To maximise the profit on assets sold, with no consideration for community needs and the impacts on individual’s lives.
As local residents we are sorry to see another town centre store closing but had the Co-op put more time into fostering better relations with the local community on matters of development, regeneration and retail, this position may never have occurred. The Co-op movement was built on respect and the development of quality community relationships, but these are principals the Heart of England Co-op seems to have long since abandoned. The ‘Caring, sharing Co-op’ seems to have become the ‘Cash in, sell-off, move on Co-op’, with Rugby being the latest victim of their cynical and destructive policies.
They’re closing one of our largest stores now, will we let them destroy an irreplaceable park next?” Only Rugby Borough Council have the power to decide over that.
See coverage by Rugby Advertiser