Fury over pharmacy opening
9:40am Monday 14th October 2013 in News
PROTESTERS took to the streets to rally support against a pharmacy which opened in Gorse Hill without planning permission.
The Eightlands drugstore opened at the front of the Hawthorn Medical Centre two weeks ago, despite losing a lengthy battle with Swindon Council to gain planning permission.
Tasawer Hussain, director of the new pharmacy, took the council’s decision to appeal, but planning inspector David Morgan also rejected his application.
In 2012, Mr Morgan agreed with the council that the extra activity at the premises would cause noise and general disturbance for nearby residents.
Around 500 signatures have been collected for a petition against the pharmacy opening in May Close.
Georgina Stratford, 66, who was leading the demonstration, said the new store was not needed and not wanted.
“They have opened illegally and we want them to know we do not want them here,” said Georgina, of May Close.
“There has already been more noise from the building. We are just not going to put up with it.”
Helen Vertannes, 50, of Cricklade Road, was also at the demonstration on Saturday afternoon.
She said: “This unwanted pharmacy provides no benefit to the local community as we have an excellent pharmacy already which covers the medical centre’s hours and, which over the last 25 years, has built an excellent reputation, going above and beyond their requirements to help everyone.”
She also praised Coun John Ballman, who represents Gorse Hill, in supporting the campaigners in their fight to close the pharmacy.
“John has been a steady, reliable person giving valid information to everyone and keeping people in the neighbourhood up to date,” added Helen.
Coun Ballman was at the protest on Saturday.
He said: “It is my understanding that at this moment in time the pharmacy is not running its needle exchange but will require to as part of its contract for the future.”
A council enforcement officer has visited the store to investigate whether it is breaking planning laws.
Coun Dale Heenan, who was on the planning committee which rejected the original plans, said: “The council has written to them on two occasions to say they do not have permission to open a pharmacy there. I will be talking with the enforcement officer to find out what action can be taken.”
Mr Hussain declined to comment to the Adver when he was approached.
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