Caroline Lucas has called on Co-op to rethink over fears that two independent businesses could be lost in expansion plans.

The Brighton MP visited Latina and Seven Cellars in Seven Dials to meet business owners who fear that they could be forced to move.

The worries come after Co-op bought the lease for the two units adjacent to their own store in Seven Dials. However, Co-op previously said it is not currently planning to expand.

Ms Lucas, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, said: “Seeing the history of these beautiful shops, they are a part of a really vibrant and diverse history which we absolutely need to keep.

The Argus: Latina and Seven Cellars next to the Co-op in Dyke RoadLatina and Seven Cellars next to the Co-op in Dyke Road (Image: Andrew Gardner / The Argus)

“There’s such a pressure to expand now that it makes it all the more important to defend shops like these two jewels. The shopkeepers really know their community and that really matters.

“I want Co-op to think again, they are supposed to do business differently and be a good neighbour. They need to ask why they want to expand at the expense of two historic women-run businesses.”


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The Argus: Louise Oliver inside her shopLouise Oliver inside her shop (Image: Andrew Gardner / The Argus)

Ms Lucas visited owners Louise Oliver and Adelia Pereira at their businesses alongside Sian Berry, the Green Party’s candidate for Brighton Pavilion at the forthcoming general election.

Ms Pereira, who owns the Latina delicatessen directly next to Co-op’s Dyke Road store, said the support had been “amazing” and that it was “good to see Brighton getting together and helping a small shop”.

Co-op bought the lease on the two properties in April which led to fears that they will look to extend their store.

The Argus: The Co-op at Seven DialsThe Co-op at Seven Dials (Image: Andrew Gardner / The Argus)

The premises of both stores date back to 1841, a year after the construction of Brighton railway station.

Sian Berry, who is vying to replace Ms Lucas as she plans to step away from parliament, said: “Becoming a bigger Co-op doesn’t add to the culture in Seven Dials. It’s about the spirit of the area.

“We need to be building a stronger and more resilient local economy. Smaller units support suppliers and bring their money back into the local economy.”

A Co-op spokesman told The Argus that the current leases which end in 2025 “will be honoured” and that no expansion plans had been confirmed.