Former George Hotel to become Co-Op cafe and store

23rd October 2023

Central Co-op has announced plans to build a new store and café in Southport.

The Society has shared its intention to rebuild a store at the site of the former George Hotel, abandoned since March 2023 and deemed structurally unsafe after extensive surveys, pending permission from Southport Council.

If the new plans are approved, the new 3,000 square foot store – which will offer an expansive range of food and essentials – and adjoining café could open as soon as summer 2024, creating 30 new jobs locally. Additionally, four residential flats could also be built above the store, providing much-needed housing for the local area.

Central Co-op, the largest independent Co-operative in the UK, currently has 440 trading sites across 19 counties, including East and West Midlands, Yorkshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire. In addition to retail food stores, the Society trades in funeral, floral and property investment. The proposed store would be its furthest North, the nearest ones being located in Shaw and Eastham.

Chris Page, property project delivery manager at Central Co-op, said: “We’re pleased to announce our plans for our future Central Co-op store, our very first one in the North West.

“We know the George Hotel was a local landmark, which is why we’re keen to preserve its heritage as much as we can. As such, the design of the building, which we hope we can unveil very soon, will be in keeping with local architecture.

“Being a co-operative, our priority is to invest in the communities we operate within, through initiatives such as our Community Dividend Fund, while embedding our stores into the local area – and Southport won’t be an exception.

“Our intention is to build a hub for local people; somewhere they can shop a range of fresh products and everyday necessities, as well as a place where they can go to unwind and enjoy a treat.

“We’re looking forward to getting to know our future neighbours, as we begin one of our most exciting, ambitious projects to date.”