Get involved! Send photos, video, news & views. Text SWINDON NEWS to 80360 or email us
Closure of pharmacy moves a step closer
THE wheels may finally be in motion on shutting down a controversial pharmacy which opened without planning permission.
The Eightlands opened at the front of the Hawthorn Medical Centre in Gorse Hill 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.
Residents close to the centre have made their views on the new pharmacy clear for several weeks, culminating in a protest outside the premises on Saturday.
And now, following meetings between ward councillors, council planning officers, the enforcement team and a planning solicitor, there is apparent progress with closing down the operation.
A council spokesman said: “We fully understand that residents want this to be dealt with as quickly as possible, and we are moving things as quickly as we can.
“As far as we are concerned the pharmacy should not be open because it needs planning permission, and it hasn’t got that permission.
“However, it is not an instant process because the law requires specific procedures to be followed, and sets out the timescales for them.
“Before we can serve an enforcement notice we have to ask for certain information from the business owners, and they have to provide that to us within two weeks.
“The deadline for that is Thursday, October 24. We will then work to serve the notice, which will take a matter of days.
“From that point on the matter is out of our hands. The business will either comply with the notice, or they might choose to appeal against it.
“If they appeal, the law gives them 28 days to lodge it, and the entire matter passes to the Planning Inspectorate, who will be required to make a ruling.
“That will require the inspectorate to ask for, and then consider, the evidence from both the council and the business owners.
“We can’t speculate on the amount of time this might take because it will be down to the inspectorate to decide the timetable, which depends on their workload.”
The council does have the power to immediately shut down illegal businesses or those which pose a threat to residents, though this case does not meet the strict criteria required.
The authority has been advised if a stop notice, as it is known, was served on the pharmacy it could be appealed against and it is likely the council would lose out because the pharmacy is not threatening lives in the town.
Georgina Stratford, 66, who was leading Saturday’s 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.”
Mr Hussain declined to comment.
Comments are closed on this article.