NHS chiefs have made it clear they are not behind two bids for new pharmacies at Wick which it’s feared could harm the area’s shopping parade.
As reported in the Gazette last month, Littlehampton town councillors voiced their concerns about the applications made to NHS England, with mayor Joyce Bowyer warning they could sound the death knell for the Wick Parade shops by drawing trade away.
However, Brendan Ward, of the NHS Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said the pharmacy applications were not part of his organisation’s plans to develop part of the Enterprise Hub site next to the new Morrisons’ supermarket at Wick as new permises for the Arun Medical Group (AMG), which currently has surgeries at East Street, Littlehampton, and at East Preston.
He added: “We are aware that two submissions have been made independently to NHS England to provide a pharmacy in Courtwick Lane.It is important to be clear that this is not part of the CCG and AMG planning proposal and no conversations have taken place with either provider.
“These applications are not related to the local NHS planning application and will be subject to the formal processes and approval led by the NHS England area team and then any further formal processes necessary such as planning.
“We understand that local partners have been contacted by NHS England to give their views on the proposals, and we encourage partners to provide responses for consideration.”
Town and Arun councillor for Ham ward, Mike Northeast, welcomed the CCG’s assurances, which were given at a meeting of a steering group of councillors, officials, government agencies and developers working on the major north Littlehampton development of more than 1,200 homes, together with business sites.
He said: “The CCG has made it clear that it had no plans to include a pharmacy within its proposals for the Enterprise Hub, and we thank them for listening to the councillors and the Wick traders over this. At the time of the Morrisons development, we also managed to persuade them not to have a pharmacy in their supermarket because of the impact that would have on the existing pharmacy at Wick Parade and that we didn’t want to lose that.
“We can cheer for a little bit, but be very mindful of the fact that there could still be a pharmacy in Courtwick Lane.
“If and when these applications later come forward as planning applications, it’s important that we put forward these arguments again.”
The closing date for comments to NHS England on the two applications is Sunday.