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UPDATE: Asda loses fight to open Penryn pharmacy
UPDATE 12.46pm - An enforcement officer from Cornwall Council has confirmed that if Asda does not cease trading and remove the makeshift pharmacy from their car park then "enforcement action will be instigated."
A Penryn supermarket has lost its appeal to open a pharmacy in store.
Cornwall Council refused Asda permission to “vary a condition” of its original planning application, which would have allowed it to open a pharmacy, in September last year.
The supermarket appealed this decision, however, and in the meantime opened a makeshift dispensing chemist in the car park so that it would not lose a 100 hour pharmacy licence granted by the old Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Primary Care Trust.
A petition was launched to close down the pharmacy, which local MP Sarah Newton supported, and now the government’s planning inspectorate have dismissed the supermarket’s appeal.
Janice Trask, the inspector appointed by local government secretary Eric Pickles, said the proposed pharmacy “would offer a service outside the opening times of the town centre pharmacy” but noted that Falmouth Health Centre has recently been granted a similar licence “so any benefits will be limited.”
She described Penryn town centre as “fragile,” adding that “the loss of one of the few core businesses would have a significant adverse impact” on its “vitality and viability.”
For these reasons, “I conclude that the appeal should be dismissed,” she said.
Cornwall councillor for the area, Mary May, welcomed the news.
“We just have to hope now that either Asda does the honourable thing and withdraw or close,” she said, “or enforcement hopefully will close them down.”
A spokesperson for Cornwall Council’s planning enforcement office said that following the decision, "the council has written to Asda requesting that the unlawful pharmacy ceases trading and that the portacabin be removed from the car park of the store.
"In the event that the council do not receive the necessary assurances that the appropriate action is being undertaken voluntarily, enforcement action will be instigated, subject to legal advice and expediency considerations."
The decision has also been welcomed by the town's MP Sarah Newton.
She said: ‘‘I am delighted that the Planning Inspectorate have listened to the community of Penryn and have recognised, like Cornwall Council before them, that a pharmacy at the Asda site would be to the detriment of the town.
‘‘I am very grateful to all the Penryn residents and business people who signed the petition in support of refusal, and for the tireless energy of all those at Penryn GP’s surgery in combating the Asda pharmacy proposals.
"I hope that Asda will now shelve their proposals, and allow Penryn’s surgery and high street businesses to focus on what they do best- delivering first class services to local residents.
‘‘Our high streets and GPs surgeries are priceless, and I will continue to stand up alongside local residents in defence of them.’’
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