New Co-op store reveals opening date on historic Cold War site

The new-look Co-op. Pic: submitted

The new-look Co-op. Pic: submitted - Credit: Archant

A new Co-op superstore is opening on Wednesday, September 9 on a Norwich site which housed a war-time bunker.

The bunker on the Chartwell Road site. Picture: James Bass, Archant library

The bunker on the Chartwell Road site. Picture: James Bass, Archant library - Credit: Archant

The new store in Chartwell Road, Sprowston, was the HQ of the 6 Group Royal Observer Corps. It opened in 1961 and housed a nuclear bunker with some underground rooms. Years ago the site was the subject of a campaign locally to turn the bunker into a tourist attraction but it is believed it was demolished in 2008.

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The new-look Co-op. Pic: submitted

The new-look Co-op. Pic: submitted - Credit: Archant

According to reports there was an earlier bunker on the site during World War Two, at that time in an orchard, used for the radar controllers for RAF Coltishall.

The site was the subject of many discussions over the years over its development and in 2016 Broadland Council granted Starbucks permission to build a drive-through coffee shop on the site alongside a 3,000 sqft retail space.

The retail space was purchased by the Central England Co-op which is opening the new store with self-scan till points, a car park with electric car charging points, a free hot and cold water refill station, phone charging area and food bank collection point.


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In line with government guidance, the store will have a range of social distancing measures in place, including special floor markings, a one-way system, external queuing, a hand sanitising station upon entry and safety devices such as plastic screens at checkouts and face coverings and visors for all staff.

The new-look Co-op. Pic: submitted

The new-look Co-op. Pic: submitted - Credit: Archant

Brad Tuckfield, manager, said: “We are delighted that we will finally be opening the doors and welcoming the community into our brand new store in Sprowston.

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“These are not the circumstances that we ever imagined launching this fantastic new store in, but we are looking forward to being there with the vital food and essentials locals need in these uncertain times and to being a part of a great community in Sprowston.”

The store also has special eco-friendly fridges and lighting and will open from 7am to 10pm, Monday to Sunday.

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