Ebbslfeet is a growing area to the south east of London and has well advanced plans for a whole new "garden village". In 2017 our client identified that this was an ideal place to open a new community pharmacy and we acted for them to make an application under regulation 18 to NHS England. That application was refused and our appeal was also refused. Sometimes we receive decisions which are disappointing, but this one just seemed wrong and we agreed to try again immediately.
To make things more complicated a local pharmacy operator with the closest two pharmacies applied to both relocate one of their branches and to open a new pharmacy whilst claiming that the Pharmaceutical Needs Assessment had identified the need for a new pharmacy. Our client was then involved in objecting to these two applications whilst also running their own (second) application.
The local pharmacy operator's relocation application went to oral hearing where they were represented by solicitors and we acted for our client. The application was refused.
The local pharmacy operator's "identified need" application also went to appeal and was refused without a hearing.
At this stage the loal pharmacy operator changed solicitors to oppose our client's second pharmacy application.
Our client's second application was refused by NHS England and we appealed that decision as strongly as possible. To give credit to Primary Care Appeals, they did not dismiss the appeal this time round and instead convened another oral hearing to consider it. The hearing was one of longest that we have seen at over 8 hours, considering over 400 pages of submissions and was another "virtual hearing".
We were delighted to be able to let our client know that their application had finally been approved after 3 years of trying.
Our client has agreed a lease for their pharmacy unit and it progressng their opening plans.