Calls for food stores to take place of Co-op

The Sentinel - - NEWS - Matt Jack­son matthew.jack­son@reach­

TRADERS are call­ing for a green­gro­cer and a frozen food store to fill the void left by the clo­sure of a town cen­tre bank.

The old Co-op bank, in High Street, Bid­dulph, goes un­der the ham­mer on Mon­day night with a guide price of £85,000.

Stafford­shire Moor­lands District Coun­cil has al­ready given per­mis­sion for the site – which was also once home to Britannia Build­ing So­ci­ety – to be split into two re­tail units with apart­ments on the first floor.

Now fel­low busi­nesses want a green­gro­cer to take up one of the units – three years af­ter the clo­sure of the pop­u­lar Morn­ing Fresh on the op­po­site side of the road.

Sheila Hart, from Sheila’s Shades, in High Street, said: “Some­thing like an Ice­land would be good.

“The near­est one we have is in Con­gle­ton, so Bid­dulph could re­ally do with one.

“The build­ing is a mess and looks an eye­sore. If it be­comes two shops then it is bet­ter than it fall­ing to bits.

“A frozen food store would be nice and I think it would bring more life into Bid­dulph and we could do with some­thing a bit cheaper than what we have.”

Jose Wain, from Euron­ics (Wains), added: “I would be glad to see it re­open as re­tail units and it was a shock to Bid­dulph when we lost Morn­ing Fresh.

“When that closed we lost a lot of trade in Bid­dulph.

“The bank unit was orig­i­nally two shops any­way and I can re­mem­ber when it was a butcher’s.”

Bid­dulph town coun­cil­lor Wayne Rogers works on the High Street and also hopes a green­gro­cer will come into one of the units.

He said: “The bank unit has been empty for a while and I would like to see some re­tail back on the High Street, some­thing that we don’t al­ready have.

“When we lost Morn­ing Fresh it was a blow to the town, and al­though we have Fresh Food Fri­day once a week, we strug­gle for fresh fruit the rest of the week.”

Bid­dulph Town Coun­cil in­tro­duced Fresh Food Fri­day to bring stall­hold­ers into the town every week, with an ar­ti­san mar­ket on the first Fri­day of the month.

The But­ters John Bee auc­tion takes place at the Moat House Ho­tel, on Fes­ti­val Park, at 6.30pm on Mon­day.

Its prop­erty de­scrip­tion states: “Plan­ning per­mis­sion has been ob­tained to split the ground floor into two re­tail units.

“It also in­cludes the re­fur­bish­ment of the an­cil­lary ac­com­mo­da­tion and change of use of the first floor – cur­rently used as of­fices, stor­age and an­cil­lary ac­com­mo­da­tion – to a one-bed­room flat and a two-bed­room apart­ment with sep­a­rate ac­cess.”

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