Penryn Town Council joined forces with the local MP this weekend to protest against a supermarket’s attempts to open what they say is an unauthorised pharmacy.
Truro and Falmouth MP Sarah Newton has launched a petition, which has already received more than 1,000 signatures, calling on Cornwall Council to take enforcement action against Asda’s Penryn store.
Last year, the council refused an application submitted by Asda to open a pharmacy inside their Penryn store, on the grounds that any such facility would drive trade away from independent retailers in the town centre and reduce the service for patients at the Penryn GP surgery.
Despite this, Asda went ahead and opened a pharmacy anyway - located inside a temporary building in the supermarket’s car park.
So on Saturday Mrs Newton was joined by the mayor of Penryn, Gill Grant, for a “day of action” to raise awareness of the issue and garner signatures for a petition.
As many as 50 Penryn residents attended the event, including “people from the GP surgery and people from shops all along Penryn’s high street,” Mrs Newton said. Leaflets were distributed throughout the town in an effort “to make sure as many people in Penryn that wanted to could sign the petition."
“I think it will make a difference because we just want to show Cornwall Council that they were right to make the decisions that they made. They were right to turn down the application and there’s a huge amount of popular support for their decision,” Mrs Newton added.
Mrs Grant was equally enthusiastic, describing the day as “brilliant.” “We had a huge turnout,” she said.
Asda have always maintained that the pharmacy was opened “within the terms of their contract,” despite not having planning permission.
A spokesperson for the supermarket said: “Customers can rest assured we have a full pharmacy licence at Penryn and we know people are keen to start using the service, so we have opened the pharmacy whilst we are waiting for the outcome of our planning appeal decision.”
The company’s attitude concerns Mrs Newton however. She said: “What worries me is that large companies come to Cornwall and they think that Cornwall Council won’t stand up for their planning decisions and that’s simply not fair.”
“Let's all help Cornwall Council do the right thing. Let’s show them how much support there is for the correct planning decision they have made and ask them to follow through for the sake of patients of the surgery and the businesses and residents of Penryn.”
Packet readers can sign Mrs Newton’s petition online by visiting surveymonkey.com/s/LWF2NR9