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Somerset Gardens Pharmacy, in Tottenham, told to get planning permission or face closure
A new pharmacy in Tottenham has been told it must get planning permission or face permanent closure.
Somerset Gardens Pharmacy, in Creighton Road, has locked horns with Haringey Borough Council and people who live in the area about a new on-site pharmacy.
There is a dispute over whether the new pharmacy, in Somerset Gardens Health Care Centre which opened on September 30, did so legally.
According to the council, permission is required for the site because the new store will affect the residents and amenities in the area.
But those who run the pharmacy claim it is just an add-on to the health centre and there is no change in the site's use.
Michelle von Ahn, who lives in Creighton Road, is one of the residents opposing the new pharmacy.
She said: “They were not given planning permission to build the new pharmacy but they went ahead with it anyway.
“Because it is a 100-hour pharmacy it could mean can have a needle exchange and give out methadone to drug addicts.
“The pharmacy is right next to a sixth form and we don’t want to attract these types of people to the area.”
She added that the area did not need another pharmacy as there is an existing pharmacy across the street.
The authority supported the claims of residents and initially issued a temporary stop order.
It was later recalled as the authority gathered more evidence about the impact the new pharmacy was having on the area.
Community Pharmacy Limited runs the store in partnership with the doctor’s surgery.
Andrew Murray, the company’s managing director, said his legal team assured him that planning permission was not needed as the pharmacy was just an 'add-on' to the health centre.
He said: “The pharmacy is there to work in partnership with the GP practice and our experience is this results in better healthcare outcomes.
“We were given advice saying we did not need planning permission to open as there was no change of use for the site.
“All we needed was a lawful development certificate – which we got – the pharmacy is not a commercial one and we only stock medication.”
Mr Murray dismissed accusations that the pharmacy would attract more drug users to the area as the pharmacy does not offer a needle exchange or methadone service.
Those services are offered as part of the doctor’s surgery.
The managing director added that his company is currently in the process of securing retrospective planning permission.
According to a council spokesman, a consultation with residents and businesses is currently taking place and is due to end on October 18.
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