COUNCILLORS have voiced their fear over plans by the NHS for two new pharmacies north of Wick – proposals which Littlehampton’s mayor said could be the ‘death knell for Wick Parade’.
The applications are part of the proposals for the relocation of the East Street GP practice to the Enterprise Hub, immediately to the north of the new Morrisons supermarket in Wick.
The two sites under consideration are the Martello Enterprise Centre and the Enterprise Hub itself.
However, councillors fear that if these plans come to fruition it would detract vital business away from Wick Parade’s Glyn Norris Pharmacy, which is one of the site’s anchor stores.
Wick and Toddington councillor Carol Emberson said this could not happen and pledged to fight the plans before they reached the planning stage.
Cllr Emberson, chairman of Littlehampton Town Council’s policy and finance committee and the Wick Village Traders’ Association, said the plan was in contravention of all the agreements that took place when Morrisons and Enterprise Hub received planning permission.
She said: “Certainly Morrisons said it would not be including a pharmacy at the store and understood that such a facility would be seriously detrimental to the retail offer at Wick Parade.
“Whilst these proposals would not be at the store itself, they would have the same effect. I would anticipate that planning permission for a change of use will be needed to allow such facilities in this area.
“I would find it very hard to be supportive of the relocation of the GP surgery if, as a result, it was likely to damage the local shops.”
Town mayor, councillor Joyce Bowyer, is also concerned. She said: “A pharmacy is not appropriate for the Enterprise Centre, as this space should be reserved for small business enterprises, not for retail units. Furthermore, this could be the death knell for Wick Parade.”
The application is only being considered internally by NHS England and is not yet part of an application to Arun District Council.
Written representations on the plan need to be sent to the NHS by May 18. The results will then be used to determine whether or not the scheme moves forward.
Cllr Bowyer said she would raise the issue at the next meeting of the North Littlehampton steering group.