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New Pharmacy for Ash Can Go Ahead – But a Major Problem Remains

Published on: 19 Jan, 2023
Updated on: 21 Jan, 2023

By David Reading

An application to open a second pharmacy in Ash has been granted on appeal.

The Pharmacy Appeals Committee overturned NHS England’s refusal to grant permission, saying it was satisfied that allowing the application would enable people to obtain better access to pharmaceutical services in the area.

However the applicant, Ally Premji, has hit a new setback. The shop previously available during the initial months of his application is now occupied and NHS requirements mean he has less than six months to find another suitable premises.

Last summer Mr Premji (pictured) campaigned for support from Ash residents through social media and leaflets handed out in the village.

At that time The Dragon highlighted problems at the Lloyds Pharmacy in the Wharf, saying that along with pharmacies across the country, Lloyds was suffering from a serious staffing crisis leading to a deterioration in the service customers receive. It was clear Mr Premji had a strong case.

In supporting his application, the appeals committee challenged the view there is already a reasonable choice in the general area with regard to obtaining pharmaceutical services. The NHS ruling was overturned.

However, the lack of a suitable site means the chances of a new pharmacy being opened have diminished. Originally Mr Premji was interested in a site between Ash Station and Pinewood Stores in Guildford Road but that property has been occupied.

“I’m at a crossroads now,” he said. “I can’t seem to find a solution and this upsets me as I wanted to open the pharmacy to help the community of Ash.”

Last summer Ash Parish Council joined residents in their complaints about the Wharf Road pharmacy, issuing a challenge to Lloyds.

Cllr Nigel Manning

The council chairman, Cllr Nigel Manning, told the pharmacy chain that “the service provided at this branch has in recent years slowly deteriorated” leading to “a great deal of anguish and upset in the village”.

The problem is exacerbated by the huge rise in population in the Ash and Tongham area, following successful housing applications on numerous sites, notably the new estate south of Ash Lodge Drive. As more houses are completed and occupied, pressure on all local services can only increase.


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Responses to New Pharmacy for Ash Can Go Ahead – But a Major Problem Remains

  1. Christopher Brennan Reply

    January 27, 2023 at 8:16 am

    The proposal of opening a shop in the old police station on Ash Street does not seem to be happening. Surely this would be a good place for a chemist.

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