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Countrywide scotches talk of moving out of Upton
ONE of Upton’s biggest retailers has dismissed growing speculation that it could be set to quit the town.
Town centre traders fear Countrywide is planning to close down its store in Hanley Road, paving the way for the Co-op supermarket to ditch its current High Street store and move to the larger site.
Countrywide has told your Malvern Gazette that the store will remain open for “the foreseeable future”, while the Co-op says it is “aware” of the Hanley Road site but currently has no plans to move.
However, Upton Tourism and Trade Association is convinced a move is on the cards and is planning to do everything that it can to keep the Co-op in the town centre.
Chairman Annette Keyworth fears the High Street will be “devastated” if the Co-op moves out of town and is planning to start a petition, lobby the town council and organise a town meeting in a bid to block the move.
“If this were to happen it would devastate the town,”
she said. “The footfall into the High Street would drop dramatically. People will get into their cars instead and drive out of town.
“Co-op is meant to be a high street brand. We need to keep this High Street alive and we need brand names to do that.”
Upton’s mayor Peter Webb said he had also heard that the move was likely to be on the cards.
But he said: “Personally I don’t think it would have a huge impact on the town centre.
The Hanley Road site is not very far outside of the town at all and generally the bigger Co-op supermarkets are very good so it may be an improvement in that regard.
“The one thing I would not want is to end up with an empty shop on the High Street.”
A spokesman for the Co- Operative Food said: “As a constantly evolving business we are always on the lookout for opportunities to grow our business.
“We look at many sites every year, and we aware of this site in Upton-upon-Severn, but currently have no plans in place for this location.”
A Countrywide spokesman said: “The Countrywide store in Upton is remaining open for the foreseeable future.”
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