Boots welcome – but not with a pharmacy

editorial image

A plan for Boots to open a new pharmacy at the London Road Retail Park have been opposed by the town council.

While the council has no objections to the store trading at the redeveloped retail park, it is against the store being granted a pharmacy licence.

Pharmacies were one of the types of business specifically prohibited at the retail park, with the restrictions put in place to protect existing traders in the town centre.

Speaking at a meeting this week, Councillor Jane Lawrence said: “Before we know where we are all these things that have been set down in the planning application will be niggled out. There should not be any competition with the town.

“I think it’s perfectly feasible for Boots to open without a pharmacy, they sell all sorts of other products.”

Councillor Bernard Rix added: “It’s not that we want to stop or discourage Boots from coming, but as the town council we are doing all that we can to protect our town centre and our retailers there. We are looking to give every reason for people to go into the town centre.”

Boots representative David Morton said the company had no intention of shutting its town centre store if it opens a larger one at the retail park.

He added: “Boots are passionate about town centres, we are not about exiting town centres.”

Phase one of development at the retail park, which includes creating the new units for existing stores that will be staying on site, is due to start in May and will last until June. Phase two is planned for 2015.