Swindon AdvertiserControversial pharmacy to appeal (From Swindon Advertiser)

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Controversial pharmacy to appeal

Swindon Advertiser: Georgina Stratford, front right, joins other placard-waving residents in Gorse Hill in protesting against the pharmacy at the Hawthorns medical centre Georgina Stratford, front right, joins other placard-waving residents in Gorse Hill in protesting against the pharmacy at the Hawthorns medical centre

Hawthorn Medical Centre pharmacy will face an informal hearing of its planning appeal in June.

The Eightlands drugstore opened at the front of the centre in May Close, in October 2013, 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.

However, the pharmacy continued to operate, despite extensive opposition from residents, with a 500-signature petition sent to the council two weeks after the store opened.

The appeals made by the pharmacy are to be considered by an inspector appointed by the Secretary of State at a hearing in the Civic Offices at 10am on June 10.

A spokesman for the Planning Inspectorate said: “The hearing will determine what the issues are and whether the guidance and planning legislation has been followed.

“It will also check to see whether all the facts have been accurately submitted by all the parties.

“The inspector will be making a fair and impartial decision. They may want to make a site visit after the hearing, if one has not been made ahead of the session.”

The spokesman also said decisions traditionally take around 18 weeks after the hearing, but in this case, a decision on the future of the pharmacy has been scheduled for late June or early July.

In October, when protestors gathered outside the centre there were several who spoke out against it.

Georgina Stratford, 66, of May Close, said: “They have opened illegally and we want them to know we do not want them here.

“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, 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.”

Mr Hussain at the pharmacy was unavailable for comment and Angela Brunning, practice manager at the centre, declined to comment.

Members of the public may attend the hearing and if they wish to speak they must be present when the hearing commences.

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