Doctors appeal over plans for pharmacy

NADV 1103083 Leeds Road Surgery 1103083AMb
NADV 1103083 Leeds Road Surgery 1103083AMb

AN APPEAL has been submitted after a GP surgery was refused planning permission for a new pharmacy.

Harrogate Council’s planning committee turned down the application by the Leeds Road surgery in June.

But the practice has since lodged an appeal against the decision which is now being considered by the planning inspectorate.

Practice manager Andrew King said: “The appeal process is there to support applications like this.

“We just felt it was within our entitlement to appeal. We’re equally confident as we were for the initial one.”

The application was for a ground-floor extension to the existing surgery to house a new pharmacy. The surgery’s partners planned for it to be open for 100 hours per week, from 7am to 10pm Monday to Saturday and 10am to 8pm Sunday, creating four full-time and four part-time jobs.

The surgery’s current opening hours are 7.45am to 6.30pm Monday to Friday, except Tuesdays when the surgery opens at 7am and Thursdays when it closes at 9pm. The planning application said the hours could be spread in the future, if the Government required changes.

When the application was first submitted, Mr King said as well as serving the community, the new pharmacy would help fund much-needed improvements to the rest of the building.

He said: “It’s a business proposition, yes, and it’s very difficult when you look at healthcare and when you look at a business, people don’t believe they go hand in hand.

“But the partners own this building and we have got to bring it up to standard.”

The practice said it had a lot of support from its patients, but nearby residents raised concerns about the plans, which they said would worsen the traffic in the area.

Mr King argued the pharmacy would reduce the length of time cars were left, allowing patients to pick up prescriptions immediately after their appointments rather than walking to the pharmacy further along Leeds Road.

He said a planned delivery service could reduce the number of people calling in for prescriptions by up to 50 per cent.

But in rejecting the application, planners said the impact on neighbours had to outweigh the needs of patients, and the effect on the nearby pharmacy - as well as the removal of a protected tree to make way for the scheme - was a significant influence on their decision.

l To comment on the application, visit www.planningportal.gov.uk and click on “search for an appeal,” then use reference APP/E2734/A/11/2159096.