Ipswich: Closure of Whitton store will hit elderly

Senior community figures have expressed concern after it was revealed a key convenience store is to close.

They say the elderly and those with mobility problems will be worst hit by the axing of a Co-op shop in Macaulay Road, Whitton.

Company bosses confirmed yesterday they would be shutting the facility next Friday because it did not fit their long term plans.

The firm said it had other stores within a short distance of Macaulay Road, including ones at Garrick Way, Meredith Road and Dales Road.

“There are other shops nearby but it depends how mobile you are,” said Rev Andrew Dotchin, vicar of Whitton. “It would be a disaster not to have anything there. There’s a high population density and it’s extremely well-used by the local school.

“I understand the Co-op does not want it but it would have been really good if they telegraphed their intentions to close earlier.”

Dr Dan Poulter, MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, said: “The Co-op is a fairly community-focused organisation and that’s something I’ll be appealing to when I meet them and try to get them to change their minds.

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“It’s an important store for lots of people, including families and elderly people who might have problems mobilising and getting around and it makes life difficult for them.

“I’m very concerned that we have got a lot of elderly people near there and were going to be losing an integral shop that’s important to the community.”

Tom Walne, 77, of Shenstone Drive, a farmer at Walnut Tree Farm, said: “I think it’s very important because just across the road you have got a complex of sheltered housing.

“It would not be that inconvenient for me [if it closed] but for the older people who go there in wheelchairs it is very inconvenient.”

Roger Grosvenor, group general manager at East of England Co-operative, said: “We will continue to provide a local service to all our existing customers and the wider Ipswich community through our other food stores in the area.

“Colleagues at the Macaulay Road store will be offered other positions within the society, including transferring to our other food stores.

“We constantly review our store locations and our strategy in food retail is generally one of acquiring, building or refurbishing well-located stores for the future. On occasion it is necessary to close stores that do not fit into our long term plans.

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