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Gorse Hill pharmacy opens up without permission
A PHARMACIST is flying in the face of council rules after opening a new store in Gorse Hill despite being turned down for planning permission.
Tasawer Hussain, a director of Eightlands Limited, opened the doors for his new drugstore on May Close yesterday.
A Swindon Council enforcement officer visited the shop positioned at the entrance of Hawthorn Medical Centre during its first day of trading.
A spokesperson for the authority said: “We visited the site this morning and will be taking legal advice before taking the appropriate action.”
Last year proposals to bring a pharmacy with extended hours and a needle exchange were rejected by a planning inspectorate. This followed an outcry by residents who collected more than 1,000 signatures for a petition against the store.
Swindon Council rejected the plans in 2011 on grounds that the extra activity at the premises would cause noise and general disturbance for nearby residents.
Despite losing the lengthy battle to open the store, Mr Hussain has pushed forward with his plans. The newly painted store had around five employees yesterday.
Opening hours for the pharmacy will be between 8am to 10.30pm on Mondays to Saturdays and on Sunday between 8am to 9pm.
Mr Hussain declined to comment but did say he did not need planning permission to open and that the council knew about what he was doing.
Hawthorn Pharmacy is positioned around 80 metres away from the new drugstore; representatives said business had already been affected.
“Today has been a bit quieter,” said Martyn Hughes, who has worked as a pharmacist for ten years. “It’s going to affect our business. Once it was rejected in Bristol we were under the impression that would be the end of it. As far as we are aware planning has not been granted.”
Coun John Ballman, who represents Gorse Hill and Pinehurst, said: “There has been no information from the medical centre, to the best of my knowledge, to explain what is happening there and given the previous history I think they are treating local people disgustingly.
“They are planning to open for almost 100 hours which is exactly the same as in the last application. They may have had some advice to say they can open but I don’t think it’s come from the council.”
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.”
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