Over the weekend I blogged and tweeted about an application by the Co-op to sell alcohol from 6am and called for greater responsibility of supermarkets when it comes to the sale of alcohol. I have since realised that I have done the Southern Co-operative a disservice. It currently runs two stores in the Brighton area, one is on Western Road and the other is on the Sussex University campus. However both trade under the national brand. The Southern Co-operative has a policy of not retailing alcohol before 8.00am and I have been assured by them that they are not reviewing this policy.
The other Co-operative stores in Brighton and Hove are owned and run by the Co-operative Group based in Manchester, and it is this Group that has made the application for 6am licences.
As an independent co-operative trading in the south of England, the Southern Co-operative is very much aware of the issues regarding alcohol and has worked very closely with local councillor Ollie Sykes and the residents near the store to ensure that they were aware of their position with regard to selling alcohol.
The Southern Co-operative has a zero tolerance to abuse. They do not put posters advertising alcohol in the window and at the residents’ requests removed one of the window designs that showed a glass of wine being poured. Residents were asked what they would like to see and after consultation, a local competition was held that resulted in a local artist’s design appearing in the store window that depicts the Brunswick area.
Local managers work with local groups and the manager in the Western Road store is in contact with the Brighton and Hove Crime Reduction Partnership and regularly attends local meetings. It is also working with the Hanover Centre on their energy saving project at the community centre and with the Brighton Peace and Energy Centre on carbon footprint surveys and special energy saving courses.
So my apologies for not differentiating between the two Co-ops locally. I have learned something. I hope in the near future to be able to write a further post welcoming a decision by the Co-operative Group not to proceed with its applications, and to highlight a new responsible approach to the marketing and sale of alcohol from them!