A farmers market stall could be the perfect medicine in Arundel’s fight for a new pharmacy.
The campaign for a new pharmacy in the town started back in March and is now in full swing, with supporters debuting a stall at last month’s farmers market to gather petition signatures.
Colin Stepney, 72, who is leading the campaign, said: “The weather helped us a great deal, we got about 500 signatures on the day.
“The response has been wonderful, the vast majority are behind this campaign.”
Arundel has been without an in-town pharmacy since Lloyds Pharmacy left several years ago and moved to a new building at the doctors’ surgery in Canada Road.
Colin said: “Since this happened, the lack of an ‘in town’ pharmacy has been one of the biggest complaints from residents and visitors.”
Lucie Stirling, co-owner of Arden Guest House, in Queens Lane, said: “Our guests are surprised to find there isn’t one in town.
“The Lloyds Pharmacy isn’t particularly accessible on foot.”
Colin added: “The way to a solution, sadly, is complicated and uncertain.”
Rather than merely persuading a company like Boots to open a new pharmacy, the final decision, after a long process, is made by NHS England, Colin said.
Colin and others have set about rallying residents and gathering signatures so that when the consultation arrives, they can effectively demonstrate the demand for a new pharmacy.
He added: “There are those that live near the pharmacy we have who are happy with it because it is convenient for them.
“We really are not trying to replace that pharmacy.”
There are ‘a lot of hurdles’ before any new pharmacy could open, Colin said, but he believes it could really benefit existing business in the town.
Parliamentary candidate for Arundel Nick Herbert and district councillor Paul Dendle made their way down to the stall to support the campaign.
Campaigners understand that a town the size of Arundel might usually be only allocated a single pharmacy by the NHS, but argue that Arundel is a special case.
Colin said: “Visitors are forever asking us where the pharmacy is.
“It is for them as much as for us.”
The stall will return at the next farmers market on June 17 in the town centre.