Chatteris Co-op to close with the loss of 57 jobs and it will be Aldi that move in

Co-operative Food store, Chatteris.Picture: Steve Williams.

Co-operative Food store, Chatteris.Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

Chatteris Co-op is to close in February – with the loss of 57 jobs- and reopen as an Aldi supermarket.

The underpass which leads to the Tesco store.

The underpass which leads to the Tesco store. - Credit: Archant

A Co-op spokesman said: “Staff has been informed of the decision, which has been taken with the greatest reluctance and is not, in any way, a reflection on the commitment and hard work of the team.

“Every effort is being made to redeploy as many as possible or to help them find alternative employment.”

Some of those affected were relocated from the March store in Broad Street, which was closed last year and is now occupied by Iceland.

Meanwhile Aldi has launched a search for a manager when it re-opens under their brand with the successful candidate set to enjoy a £35,800 a year salary rising to £56,500 for a five day, 48 hour week.

Aldi is also recruiting for assistant store managers nationwide with a starting salary of £23,700 rising to £34,000 after training.

News of the take-over follows hot on the heels of the disappointment caused by Tesco when it announced it was mothballing its new £22million store for nine months because of “difficult trading issues”.

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Tesco was just weeks away from opening with the prospect of 250 new jobs when the announcement was made in September.

And earlier this month MP Steve Barclay announced he had managed to secure a £4,000 cash apology for community enterprises from Tesco as compensation for the upset caused by their decision to delay the opening.

Last year private equity group, Osprey Income and Growth 3 LP, said it had completed the “forward funding acquisition” of the Tesco store at Chatteris. It had been pre-let on an unbroken 25-year lease.

The planning consent for the site has been undertaken by Harrier Developments, one of the companies owned by Manea based developer Richard Sears. Harrier also won consent for a Tesco store in Station Road, Whittlesey, but work has not started on that scene. Harrier tried to switch consent for another site, in Eastrea Road, but planners backed a rival scheme, on behalf of Sainsbury’s, put forward by businessman Bruce Smith of March. Ironically the Sainsbury’s store, delayed after unsuccessful legal challenges by Mr Sears, is still awaiting a start date.

Earlier this month Liz Dent of ICIS Consulting of Manea, who describes herself as the “developer” of the Chatteris site, responded to readers’ concerns about the roundabout.

“As I’m sure you appreciate the highway works have been implemented strictly in accordance with a design approved, heavily vetted and safety audited by the county council.

“The new roundabout arms are designed to slow traffic down when entering the roundabout whilst also providing fast exits in order to maximise the traffic flows. Kerb re-alignment works are currently been undertaken on the northern exit flare of the site roundabout to provide a wider exit.”

She added: “We anticipate that all traffic management will be removed over the next few weeks as works come to an end.

“As we move closer to completing the development, hoarding boards have been installed to secure the store during Tesco¹s fit out works.”