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Businesses in Todd Crescent, Kemsley, in trouble after Lakeside doctor's surgery shuts

The closure of Lakeside Medical Centre has left two businessmen fearing for their futures.

Austin Achunine, who owns Austinoma Chemist, and Sathy Ramalangham, who runs Lakeside Mini Mart, claim they are losing £2,000 a week each from passing trade since the doctor’s surgery in Todd Crescent, Kemsley, closed in June.

Austinoma Chemist, Todd Crecent, Kemsley
Austinoma Chemist, Todd Crecent, Kemsley

As a result they are “desperate” to see it reopen.

However, it is expected to remain closed until September while a wrangle over the building’s lease is resolved.

Mr Ramalangham, who has run the shop with his wife Banu for the last three years, said: “Trade has always been good but now the surgery has closed we have been affected.

“We’re normally very busy in the mornings. We relied very heavily on customers coming from the surgery or people using the car park to visit us but the gates to that are locked.

I reckon we’re losing about £2,000 a week. It’s a lot of money. Newspapers are not selling or soft drinks.

“Cigarette sales have dropped as well. The business is going down and down. I even had to lay off my cousin. We are desperate to see it open again. If it doesn’t we may have to close in the next couple of months.”

Lakeside Mini Mart, Todd Crecent, Kemsley
Lakeside Mini Mart, Todd Crecent, Kemsley

Mr Achunine, who also owns Newington Pharmacy, said: “We’ve definitely been affected by it. It’s been so bad. Business has gone down by 40%.

“It’s a real problem and that’s why we’re crying out for it to be resolved. I’ve been here 20 years and I’ve always had good, healthy trade. I employ two part-time and two full-time workers.

“If it continues like it is I don’t know what will happen. People may lose their jobs.”

The saga began when the centre was criticised in a Care Quality Commission report as being an “unacceptable risk” to its 2,628 patients.

This was followed by the retirement of its long-standing GP, Dr Bijan Saha, who agreed for four doctors from Swale to take over the practice before he stepped down on June 28.

NHS Primary Care gave assurances the surgery would remain open during the upheaval, but patients arrived on June 30 to find it closed with “alternative arrangements” made for them at Sittingbourne Memorial Hospital and Sheppey Community Hospital in Minster.

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