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Hopton villagers victorious in bid to fight garage pharmacy plans

PUBLISHED: 06:30 16 March 2012

Residents of Hopton are against plans for a new chemist to be situated on a residential street.  Picture: Nick Butcher

Residents of Hopton are against plans for a new chemist to be situated on a residential street. Picture: Nick Butcher

© Archant 2012

A HOPTON community banded together to defeat plans for a pharmacy they say would leave them “prisoners in their own close”.

Families living in Imperial Mews cul-de-sac gathered a 90-signature petition to fight off plans to build the pharmacy in their neighbour’s garage.

Pharmacist Yasser Sharief, of Manchester, had hoped to set up the business in Jay Formosa’s double garage at The Laurels in Lowestoft Road, the adjoining main road.

But residents said that parking chaos would ensue if it were allowed to open, causing problems for weddings and funerals at the nearby St Margaret’s Church, and that extra traffic and the fact the establishment would stock drugs, would put children at risk.

School teacher Rebecca Clack, 40, voiced the community’s concerns at Tuesday’s Great Yarmouth Borough Council development control meeting at the town hall.

“By placing just three cars near our close it causes mayhem and havoc,” she said.

“When the church is in use that road is full of cars, and it’s full for the bowls club and footballers using the recreation ground.”

She added: “We tried to come out when there was a van parked and it held up traffic right the way back to the roundabout.

“We fear if this pharmacy were to happen, every day there could be an accident.”

The mother-of-two, who lives in Imperial Mews, questioned the need for the pharmacy, saying there is a dispensary at the nearby doctors surgery and pain medication is available in nearby shops.

Council leader and Hopton councillor, Steve Ames, also spoke out against the plans for the garage, which used to be a toilet block.

“It’s a lock-up premises,” he said. “We could be told there are no drugs of any appeal to drug users, but they’re not going to know that until they’ve broken in.

“That’s a major concern.”

But applicant Mr Sharief, of Roshban Ltd in Manchester, argued the pharmacy would benefit health provision in the community and would create two jobs - for a pharmacist and a dispenser.

He said it would save travel time to Yarmouth and Gorleston pharmacies, he would work with the parish council over parking issues and the visual impact would be minimal - for example when the rollershutter was down it would look like a garage.

“I know there have been a lot of issues with this proposal, but that’s against what we intended as a community project,” he added.

Three parking spaces are required to be built for a premises like the pharmacy, the council heard.

None would be built, but the highways authority did not have any issues with the application.

Environmental health ruled that associated plant must be built in a way that did not cause a nuisance to neighbours.

But the plans were rejected, with councillors voting six to two against them.

This was greeted by cheers and applause from residents who had turned out to the meeting.

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