Step further for Co-op merger

IPSWICH and Norwich Co-op is a step closer to being merged with its counterpart in Colchester and east Essex to form one of the UK's biggest co-operative societies after members overwhelmingly backed the move.

IPSWICH and Norwich Co-op is a step closer to being merged with its counterpart in Colchester and east Essex to form one of the UK's biggest co-operative societies after members overwhelmingly backed the move.

A massive majority of members in Ipswich voted in favour of plans for the union of the two societies to become the new East of England Co-operative Society.

Similar support was given by members at special general meetings in Norwich and Sudbury.

The votes attracted more than 97 per cent support for the name change and moves to amend the society's rules to accommodate a merger.


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The merger plans are now dependant on a meeting of Colchester and East Essex Society members on October 26 when a vote will be held on whether to confirm support for the change.

At an earlier meeting, 89 per cent of members of that society voted in favour of the plan but its rules require a second meeting, known as a confirmatory meeting, to allow a second vote to be held.

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If the vote is passed, the new East of England Co-operative Society will come into being on October 30.

Richard Samson, chief executive of Ipswich and Norwich Society said: “I am delighted that our members have given the merger such clear support.

“Both societies operate highly successful co-operative businesses and the planned merger will enable us to work together for the benefit of our members, our employees, and the communities where we trade.”

If the merger goes ahead, the new society will become the fifth largest co-operative society in the UK, employing more than 5,000 people and operating more than 200 trading outlets.

Annual turnover will be more than £400million.

Chris Blanchett, chief executive of the Colchester & East Essex Society, said: “We have now passed a key stage in the merger process.

“Following months of talks with Ipswich & Norwich it is rewarding to have the support of our members as we proceed closer towards this historic move.

“Members have been forward thinking in welcoming our key proposals, to provide an even more successful society and more security for the future.”

Weblinks: www.ipswich-norwich.coop; www.colchester.coop

N What do you think of the merger plans? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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