Co-op follows Tesco and announces closure of store in former Hellesdon pub site

The Falcon pub has closed: Submitted picture

The Falcon pub has closed: Submitted picture - Credit: Archant

A close-knit community has been dealt another blow after a business at the heart of their village has announced closure.

East of England Co Op in Cromer Road, Hellesdon. Photo: Google Maps

East of England Co Op in Cromer Road, Hellesdon. Photo: Google Maps - Credit: Google Maps

Hellesdon pubs have suffered a turbulent few years after two watering holes in Cromer Road were forced to shut, and reopened as supermarket express stores.

And now even the stores backed by national brands are being forced to close, leaving central units empty.

The first pub to close was the former Firs pub, which became a Tesco Express in 2010.

Then, the Falcon pub on the same road was converted to an East of England Co-op in 2014.

However the Co-op have announced that they will be closing this shop, and redeploying the 13 staff that work there.

A spokesperson for the East of England Co-op, said: 'We are currently consulting with our colleagues regarding the proposed closure of Cromer Road food store on Saturday, July 7.

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'Unfortunately our Cromer Road food store has struggled to make a sustained, positive contribution to our business.

'This is no reflection on our colleagues, who we know provide great service to our members and customers. All colleagues will be offered redeployment within the business.'

The conversion from the pub to a store has always been a sore point for the community, whose parish council always opposed the change.

District councillor for Hellesdon South East, Tony Adams said: 'I'm not surprised to hear this, although of course any business closing in the local area is a concern to me. It's not good to have a unit empty, but residents have been getting used to it.

Mr Adams, 73, did vote in favour of the store in 2014. He continued: 'We've got a lot of convenience stores in Hellesdon and I think that with the competition the store just wasn't economically viable.'

Mr Adams, who has been a councillor for 42 years, continued: 'I'd like to see it turned into a restaurant as the closest thing we have to that is McDonalds, but the Falcon pub was there before and that didn't work either.

'The only thing I can think to do which might work, and whether or not the community would be opposed to it I don't know, would be to knock it down and build some houses.'