Islands Lose Representation On Coop Regional Board

Queues in the St Mary's Coop store

In the last few weeks we’ve heard complaints about meat and fish past it’s sell-by date, mouldy fruit, empty shelves and on one occasion there was no fresh milk.

And now there are concerns that St Mary’s Coop shoppers’ views on pricing, policy and stocking won’t be reflected as we’ve lost our islands–based area committee representation.

Sue Williams represented locals’ views but she’s been replaced by mainland representatives.

Alan Davis who stood for election a year ago says we’re disadvantaged because the vote is across Cornwall and Scilly and most mainland candidates have a larger local population to canvass.

He wants the system changed so there’s a ring-fenced seat for the islands. He says that’s only fair, with the Co-op’s monopoly on the islands, which turns over millions each year.

Alan says under the present system, the mainland will dominate and it’s unlikely that the islands will ever be able to elect a representative. And he says some kind of feedback mechanism needs to be put in place to make sure the Manchester-based group understand the serious issues on the islands.


It’s Time Money Was Spent On Improvements


Alan says its time some money was spent on the store to improve operations. He says it’s been at least 10 years since there was a refurbishment and he believes the store areas at the back of the shop, which are currently underutilised, could be used to increase retail space.

He also thinks the Coop prices could be lower in Scilly. He believes we should be paying the same price as Penzance, with the additional cost of freight on top. At the moment, the St Mary’s Coop is classed as a corner shop so prices are much higher than would be expected for a store with similar turnover on the mainland.

In a statement issued by the Coop from Manchester, they say they are a democratic organisation and members vote for their representatives to sit on local committees. They are keen to ensure that Scilly customers continue to engage with them.

But Sue Williams says she often asked for a focus group to bringing together shoppers and staff to sort out problems, but she said Manchester decides what happens and they weren’t interested.

Coop HQ tells us that their Membership Team for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly is looking at options to address the issue. They added that they do their utmost to ensure our stores are well stocked, but the increased seasonal trade, coupled with the recent closure of the wholesalers, has presented them with some challenges this year.

Their spokeswomen repeated what they told us in the winter, that they are looking at plans to improve provision in the St Mary’s store.


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