Central Co-op to build new store at abandoned George Hotel site

Posted by paul reece | Published: 22/09/2023

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.”


To find out more about Central Co-op, visit centralcoop.co.uk/



About Central Co-op 


Central Co-op is one of the largest independent retail co-operative societies in the UK, with a heritage stretching back over 175 years and interests in food, funeral, floral and property investment.  


Owned by hundreds of thousands of members, its 7,700 colleagues serve customers across 440 plus trading sites in 21 counties in the East and West Midlands, Yorkshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire.   

Its purpose is to create a sustainable Society for all.   


It actively campaigns for food justice and works with FareShare Midlands and a network of local food banks. It also adds £1 to every Healthy Start Voucher redeemed in store and supports six schools in partnership with Magic Breakfasts.


The Society embraces inclusivity and equality and is a signed-up member to the Business in the Community (BITC) Race at Work Charter. The Society is also a member of Diversity in Retail and it is fully committed to addressing the impacts of climate change by reducing carbon and food waste, increasing recycling and investment in community Sustainable Spaces funded by the carrier bag levy. It recently launched its Malawi Partnership to support farmers and producers in the country through the Co-operative International Trading Development Fund.  


It invests a percentage of its trading profit into local communities through its Community Dividend Fund scheme which has seen over £109,769.25 shared out between 121 good causes in 2022.