NHS bosses turned down a pharmacy application in Leybourne when two big chains said they already provided the services
The parade of shops in Leybourne where an application for a pharmacy was rejected.
Two of the big chemist chains joined forces to oppose a small one which had applied to open in Leybourne.
Paydens in Martin Square, Larkfield, and Boots in High Street, West Malling, both objected to the application to set up a pharmacy and store.
The applicant hoped to open the store in the parade of shops near Leybourne’s medical centre in Oxley Shaw Lane.
Despite a campaign and petition by Leybourne Parish Council, with chairman Cllr Bob Ulph speaking in favour of the idea, a hearing run by the NHS rejected it on appeal.
Businessman Sunil Chandarana had originally applied to the former West Kent PCT in February 2013 but was turned down.
But at the hearing his application was rejected again when the two pharmacies in the area argued that they already provided everything needed by locals.
Cllr Ulph said: “It just seems wrong. “There was a lot of support for it in the area.”
He said that there were elderly residents who could not reach the big chains on foot and mums with pre-school children who didn’t have access to a car.
He added: “In any other business scenario you could, for example, open a hairdressers alongside an existing hairdressers, yet here we have a proposal to open a pharmacy which is several miles away from any others and the ‘cartel’ close shop on the applicant.”
The hearing was told there were four pharmacies within 2.5 miles of Leybourne.
A report of the meeting said that as many people in Leybourne drove elsewhere for food and clothes shopping, the committee couldn’t see the pressing need for a pharmacy in the area.
An NHS England spokesman said: “The relevant regulatory committee is responsible for making decisions relating to pharmacy applications.
“It decided in this case that the evidence provided by the contractor did not prove the case and therefore refused the application. The applicant appealed this decision with the Litigation Authority, who upheld the original decision to refuse the application”.
The matter will be discussed at Leybourne Parish Council’s full council meeting on Tuesday, March 4.
Mr Chandarana could now seek a judicial review, or submit another application addressing the refusal reasons.
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