The Swindon pharmacists who hope to set up a new branch in Old Town have spoken about their plans.

Priesh Patel wants to open a pharmacy inside the High Street Co-op to restore health services to the area that were lost when the Rowlands there and the Wood Street Boots closed.

The nearest available one at the moment is at the bottom of Victoria Hill.

NHS England has received his team’s application for a licence that would allow them to set up the site and he is calling on the community to show their support for the bid, which was sent in at the end of January.

Mr Patel said: “We noticed a gap in the market when Rowlands closed so we considered our options and got advice from an agent that represents us.

“During that back and forth, we learned of Boots closing, so we thought there would be a good case for us to fill that gap.

“Victoria Hill is very steep and not something you want to walk up and down, especially in this heat.

“The supermarket has good accessibility, plenty of parking, it has everything.

“Co-op has been very good to us. They want a pharmacy there, they see the need for it, and said that they are holding the position until our application is approved."

The family business manages four pharmacies in Swindon, including Hawthorn Pharmacy in Gorse Hill, which has been in business for more than 30 years.

If all goes well and their application gets approved, the new pharmacy would stay open until 7.30pm from Monday to Friday and until the late afternoon on weekends, as well as offer Covid and flu vaccinations plus a free delivery service when necessary.

Priesh added: “We’ve mirrored what’s available at our sister branch in Gorse Hill, which is our main hub.

“There is a need for a pharmacy in Old Town that opens late on weekdays.

"We understand that people are working and can’t always make the 5.30pm cut-off, so anyone would be able to come in when it’s convenient for them.”

Pharmacy First services would let staff treat patients with sinus infections, impetigo, shingles, soar throats, ear infections (if under the age of 18), infected bites, and UTIs.

Consultant pharmacist Dipesh Patel added: “Currently, they don’t have that in this area. It’s gone well and continues to thrive at Hawthorn because it reduces GPs’ workload.”

Neighbours are being encouraged to write to with their supportive comments and explanations of how the lack of a pharmacy in Old Town has affected them.

Mr Patel added: “We’ve received dozens so far from people in Old Town and the surrounding areas because people passing through would also find it useful.

“The next few weeks are very important. We need as many emails as possible that we can show to NHS England and put a better case forward.

“It’s a long process and still early days, but we have seen strong support from people, which is really nice.”

Before the day of the general election, South Swindon’s then-Conservative candidate Robert Buckland said: “I remain strongly supportive of this application, from a skilled and well-established local provider, which will provide essential pharmaceutical services to thousands of local residents here in Swindon South."

Council leader Jim Robbins added: “I’m pleased to hear of the application for a new pharmacy in Old Town. We’ll look to support this in the same way that we supported the successful pharmacy campaign in Rodbourne.”