Victory as plans for needle exchange rejected at appeal

Swindon Advertiser: Protesters against plans for a late night pharmacy in Gorse Hill met outside of the Civic Offices in November. Centre front is Gerry Przybyszewski Protesters against plans for a late night pharmacy in Gorse Hill met outside of the Civic Offices in November. Centre front is Gerry Przybyszewski

CAMPAIGNERS are jubilant after a Government-appointed planning inspector upheld Swindon Council’s decision to reject plans for a pharmacy with a needle exchange and extended opening hours in Gorse Hill. Eightlands Ltd, the company behind the plans, went to appeal after the planning committee refused permission in November.

It held a long public campaign for its plans to open a pharmacy in part of Hawthorn Medical Centre, in May Close.

The council said the extra activity at the premises would cause noise and general disturbance for nearby residents, and the lack of parking would lead to vehicles being parked in the road. Residents and Gorse Hill Neighbourhood Watch also raised concerns that the needle exchange would increase crime by attracting drug addicts and prostitutes.

The appellant refuted the noise and disturbance concerns, claiming that a pharmacy could not be considered a noisy use, and that any increase in activity would be limited to a few patients visiting in the evenings.

It also said the council had not demonstrated that insufficient car parking would be available or that on-street parking would prejudice highway safety.

Planning inspector, David Morgan said there would be sufficient car parking at the centre and surrounding streets, but dismissed the appeal on the grounds that it would “cause unacceptable material harm to the living conditions of adjacent residential occupiers”.

He concluded: “I have found that the proposed pharmacy use would bring benefits to the local and wider community. I have also found that its provision would not result in material harm to the free flow of traffic or the safety of highway users.

“Both factors weigh in favour of the proposal. However, both benefits would be outweighed by the material harm to the living conditions of local residents that would result, and this determines the appeal should fail.”

Resident Maurice Small, of Poulton Street, who was involved in the campaign, said the result showed what was possible when residents work together.

He said: “I’m glad. When you get the people together, they can do something but if they sit down and moan they won’t get anything done.”

Fellow campaigner Mike Iles, who lives in Cricklade Road near the medical centre, said: “It allays some of the anxieties we had in regards to parking around there and the needle disposal.

“Just generally it’s better for the wellbeing of elderly and disabled people around there because they wouldn’t have that sort of people coming around there.”

Coun Ray Ballman (Lab, Gorse Hill and Pinehurst) said: “We’re pleased with the fact that the inspector upheld the decision. “The residents around that area were concerned about a 100 hours pharmacy so we supported them and we were very pleased with the decision that was made.”

Eightlands Ltd was unavailable for comment yesterday.

Comments (7)

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7:42pm Fri 3 Aug 12

silvergran says...

I can't say as I blame people who live in that particular area that they don't want a pharmacy with a needle exchange on the doorstep, but there's a need for a pharmacy where the main area of the shops are situated. It's a long way from the shops to the May Close chemist especially for older people.
I can't say as I blame people who live in that particular area that they don't want a pharmacy with a needle exchange on the doorstep, but there's a need for a pharmacy where the main area of the shops are situated. It's a long way from the shops to the May Close chemist especially for older people. silvergran

8:23pm Fri 3 Aug 12

spiderlady says...

i agree with your comment about there not being one in the main bulk of shops, however, if they had visited the doctors in may close they havent got far to go. the proposed pharmacy was actually in hawthorn medical centre in may close
i agree with your comment about there not being one in the main bulk of shops, however, if they had visited the doctors in may close they havent got far to go. the proposed pharmacy was actually in hawthorn medical centre in may close spiderlady

8:49am Sat 4 Aug 12

silvergran says...

Well it's OK if you go to that surgery, but not everyone goes there. I had someone ask me recently where the chemist was when I was shopping near Chapel Street, so perhaps there is a need for a chemist. I wonder if one of the nearby supermarkets could possibly be the answer
Well it's OK if you go to that surgery, but not everyone goes there. I had someone ask me recently where the chemist was when I was shopping near Chapel Street, so perhaps there is a need for a chemist. I wonder if one of the nearby supermarkets could possibly be the answer silvergran

12:10pm Sat 4 Aug 12

underdogs says...

Clearly a service that is needed, maybe the NHS should identify the HOTSPOT in Swindon where this type of service is required and inform eightlands ? Better to have a needle exchange in a controlled environment, in the area where it is most needed, rather that repeatedly finding these dangerous needles on the streets and in childrens play areas ! I would hope the council and councillors would support and help Eightlands in any way they can to set up this facility, rather than wasting the companies funds and taxpayers money on an expensive appeal process ?
Clearly a service that is needed, maybe the NHS should identify the HOTSPOT in Swindon where this type of service is required and inform eightlands ? Better to have a needle exchange in a controlled environment, in the area where it is most needed, rather that repeatedly finding these dangerous needles on the streets and in childrens play areas ! I would hope the council and councillors would support and help Eightlands in any way they can to set up this facility, rather than wasting the companies funds and taxpayers money on an expensive appeal process ? underdogs

4:01pm Sun 5 Aug 12

faatmaan says...

basically this will end up being on a council estate , as all the nimbys object to any scheme of this nature
basically this will end up being on a council estate , as all the nimbys object to any scheme of this nature faatmaan

11:33am Mon 6 Aug 12

PJC says...

In Oxford, the city centre public toilets are all made of steel and have enclosed sharps bins. What happens in Swindon when the loos are vandalised? The council closes them for months then just replaces them with the same old cheapo ceramic bogs, which then get smashed again, an so on, and so on. It would be cheaper in the long run to replace them with something more durable.
In Oxford, the city centre public toilets are all made of steel and have enclosed sharps bins. What happens in Swindon when the loos are vandalised? The council closes them for months then just replaces them with the same old cheapo ceramic bogs, which then get smashed again, an so on, and so on. It would be cheaper in the long run to replace them with something more durable. PJC

7:50pm Mon 6 Aug 12

timt1964 says...

another posse of angry swindon residents who dont want anything near them but use all the shops and facilities when it suits them.also if that guy in the picture "wants peace and quiet" why doesnt he go back to the graveyard because he looks like a horror film extra.
another posse of angry swindon residents who dont want anything near them but use all the shops and facilities when it suits them.also if that guy in the picture "wants peace and quiet" why doesnt he go back to the graveyard because he looks like a horror film extra. timt1964

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