MP pays tribute to Royston community after Morrisons closure confirmed

PUBLISHED: 10:33 22 September 2020 | UPDATED: 12:24 22 September 2020

Morrisons will close in October, it has been confirmed. Picture: Archant

Morrisons will close in October, it has been confirmed. Picture: Archant

Danny Loo Photography 2016

Despite efforts made by the community to keep its doors open, Morrisons in Royston will close next month.

North East Herts MP Sir Oliver Heald. Picture: Sir Oliver HealdNorth East Herts MP Sir Oliver Heald. Picture: Sir Oliver Heald

Despite efforts made by the community to keep its doors open, Morrisons in Royston will close next month.

Since the possibility of closure emerged at the beginning of August, shoppers, staff and local politicians have fought to keep the only supermarket in the town centre open while it went through a consultation process.

Last month, Morrisons said the lease had come to an end and there was “no viable option” decided upon – conversations about increasing footfall then took place, but a solution was not found.

A Morrisons spokeswoman has now said: “After reviewing all the available options we could not find a way of improving the viability of the Morrisons store in Royston to the necessary degree and have reached the difficult decision that it will close on Sunday, October 25.

“Priority now is to support our store team and, where possible, redeploy our highly valued colleagues within our business”.

After the announcement yesterday MP Sir Oliver Heald told the Crow: “This is a sad decision for Royston. I am disappointed at the outcome.

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“I have had three discussions with the company’s senior executives, including chief executive David Potts who contacted me with the news today immediately after staff were informed and I have also raised issues with North Herts Dstrict Council about parking arrangements.

“In the end, it hasn’t proved possible for Morrisons to continue to make a go of the store. I have asked that the company should look at transfers to other stores and help and packages for the staff, who have done so well. I know many other customers like me will be really sad.

“Royston made it clear that it wanted to keep Morrisons here. I also pay tribute to our councillors and organisations who lobbied hard on this. I know that councillors Fiona Hill and Tony Hunter also had contact with the CEO.

“Hopefully, a retail company can be found to fill the space.”

Councillor Paul Clark, NHDC’s executive member for planning and transport, said: “We are saddened by the news that Morrisons in Royston is closing next month and had been in discussions with them to see what assistance the Council could offer”.

A spokeswoman for Royston Town Council said: “RTC is saddened by the news. Morrisons has served Royston for many years and provided choice for shoppers, competition for the other food retailers and helped attract footfall to the town centre.

The closure will be a great loss for the town. Our first thoughts are with the staff who will be losing their jobs and local residents who rely on the proximity of Morrisons for their shopping.

We can only hope that another food retailer will see this as an opportunity to establish their presence in Royston.”


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