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Leybourne Parish Council is fighting on to get an application for a pharmacy in its parade of shops approved

By Angela Cole

A parish council has vowed to fight on to get an independent chemist opened in the area even though the only official option left is to take it through the courts.

Leybourne Parish Council had joined businessman Sunil Chandarana at a panel hearing in February to decide whether to allow his application to open a chemist in the parade of shop’s near Leybourne’s medical centre in Oxley Shaw Lane.

It was rejected after Paydens in Martin Square, Larkfield, and Boots in High Street, West Malling, both objected to it, as they argued it was too near to them.

The parade of shops in Leybourne where an application for a pharmacy was rejected.
The parade of shops in Leybourne where an application for a pharmacy was rejected.

Mr Chandarana’s only option to overturn the decision is a judicial review, which would cost in excess of £100,000, but the parish council has vowed to continue the fight.

It has written to Tonbridge and Malling MP Sir John Stanley (Con), citing the fact that the same NHS committee recently approved a similar application in Maidstone.

Parish council chairman Bob Ulph said he was hopeful pressure could be put on the NHS to rethink its decision, and that the issue could even be raised in parliament. He said there was considerable local support for the application.

The hearing had heard there were four pharmacies within 2.5 miles of Leybourne and that people often used their cars or public transport to get to shops and, so could visit a chemist while doing so.

Cllr Bob Ulph, chairman of Leybourne Parish Council
Cllr Bob Ulph, chairman of Leybourne Parish Council

But Cllr Ulph said: “We still have a large amount of our community whowhich are elderly, who don’t drive or who need someone to pick up their prescription, and young mothers who have difficulty in getting there. We have looked into it, and there are 18 dispensing chemists in the Maidstone area.

“Recently, this panel also approved two chemists very close together. It really doesn’t stack up.

“Somebody really needs to be looking at what’s going on here. It is the large companies who are ganging up on these small chemists.

Cllr Ulph also sent the Kent Messenger’s coverage of the panel’s decision to Sir John to show the strength of feeling on the issue.

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