Shoppers up in arms as Co-op in Leyland's Moss Side closes for two weeks during lockdown
The Co-op store in Leyland's Moss Side will close for two weeks to undergo refurbishment, leaving its community without a local shop during lockdown.
The store in Dunkirk Lane, on the western side of Leyland, will close from Wednesday, January 13 before reopening on January 27, said staff.
It will undergo a complete make-over, bringing its appearance in line with the 'new-look' Co-op stores, as well as introducing self-service check-outs.
Staff at the store say the revamp has been planned for some time, with work expected to go ahead last April before it was postponed due to the pandemic.
But some residents have voiced their concerns at the timing, saying the closure will deprive the community of a vital local amenity during lockdown.
The next nearest shop - Spar in Leyland Lane - is a 20-minute walk away, prompting concerns for elderly and less mobile residents, as well as mothers with prams, during the winter lockdown.
Some residents have suggested that the Co-op should consider postponing the refurbishment until the weather improves and lockdown restrictions are eased.
Local resident Susan Lee shops for her 75-year-old parents, to help shield them from the coronavirus. But Susan says she is concerned for those pensioners who might not have the same family support available to them.
She said: "It's a bad time to be closing as it’s the only shop for a lot of people in that area and a lifeline for some. They should postpone the revamp.
"In my case my parents are vulnerable and my dad has COPD, so we only allow them to go to the shop to get their papers - myself and my brother do their shopping and other errands on their behalf.
"They are lucky, but there are others that live on Moss Side that don’t have family to do that for them, so the closure of the Co-op, even for 2 weeks, is putting them at risk.
"Surely it can be moved to March when restrictions can be eased and most of the vulnerable are vaccinated."
Moss Side resident Chell McColl, added: "What a shame it couldn’t be postponed in the current circumstances. Lots of elderly people are using this shop instead of risking the big supermarkets during the pandemic."
And Nicky Finlay said: "For those who don't drive or the elderly who rely on it, nipping to other stores isn't really an option.
"Some can't walk that far and then be expected to carry their shopping back, and ordering online isn't that simple, with delivery slots getting harder to get.
"Especially if you don't need a full shop and just need a loaf of bread and some milk. I'm lucky enough to drive and well enough to walk, but I feel for those who can't."
Staff at the store say they are sympathetic to the difficulties that the closure is likely to cause for some of their customers, but say the refurbishment is unable to be postponed at this stage.
"We were supposed to have the refit just as the first lockdown hit. However, it was pushed back," said a member of staff.
"Unfortunately this new lockdown is just bad timing. We've had so many people complaining about it, but we really do need it and at this point there's nothing to be done."
A Co-op spokesman said: "As a community retailer we are committed to investing in our stores so that customers and members have the best possible shopping experience along with access to high quality groceries.
"Essential works to upgrade our Leyland store are due to begin on 12 January for approximately two weeks.
"Customers with access to transport can use Co-op Click and Collect shopping services at the nearby Pope Lane store (4 miles away).
"Co-op also has a Community Shopping Card which enables friends or loved ones to do shopping on behalf of those who may be self-isolating or staying at home.
"We recognise that under the current circumstances, these options may not be suitable for all our customers and would ask that anyone with concerns speaks to the store manager as soon as possible so we can look to support them."
It is more important than ever on you taking out a digital subscription to support our journalism.
For unlimited access to the latest Lancashire news and information online, you can subscribe here.