Co-Op saves jobs at ex-Somerfield supermarket in Whittlesey

A SUPERMARKET giant has promised to safeguard 78 jobs with a �150,000 investment in Whittlesey.

The Co-Operative Group says it has no plans to shelve staff when it coverts the town’s Somerfield store ready for opening on Wednesday, August 11.

It also plans to be provide a better service for customers at its Blunts Lane store after manager Keith Grass said: “We are proud to serve the local community.

“This investment means we can now provide a much enhanced service and customers are welcoming the changes.”

The Co-Op is upgrading stores in Fenland after buying the Somerfield supermarket chain in a �1.56 billion acquisition last year.

It promises to become “even more relevant and distinctive” to Whittlesey customers and “make a contribution to community life” after the refit.

However it was nearly involved in a supermarket war after Tesco launched a bid to build its very own rival store just down the road in Syers Lane.

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But the bid was thrown out by Fenland District Council after the Co-Op objected to plans which residents said would “destroy the heart of the town”.

Tesco had wanted to tear down 13 two-bedroom houses to make way for the premises but Whittlesey Business Forum member Steve Parker said it would have had “serious detrimental effect”.

Somerfield will close for refurbishment on Sunday, August 7 and reopen as the Co-Op the following week.