Midlands Co-op has been forced to close its largest store in Thurmaston after losing the bulk of its business to an Asda that opened directly opposite in March.

Asda won planning permission for the controversial 45,000 sq ft store at Thurmaston in December 2001, contrary to the recommendation of an independent planning inspector in 1999.

As predicted by The Grocer, which looked at the likely trade impact with consumer analysis company CACI (March 8, p25), the new store has had a devastating effect on the Co-op superstore, which has been trading since the 1970s.

Although Midlands was trying to redeploy the store’s 211 staff elsewhere in its business, this would not be convenient for everyone, said a spokeswoman. The society is still pursuing compensation from the government after a High Court judge said it had grounds for complaint over the way Asda’s application had been handled.