Health centre bosses hit out at plans for former clinic to be used as luxury tobacco shop
PUBLISHED: 08:17 11 December 2018
Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2010
Plans for a former pub to be turned into a luxury tobacconist have been put under fire by a nearby health centre, with bosses arguing it would "give out entirely the wrong message".
Members of Great Yarmouth Borough Council’s licensing team will decide on Friday whether to grant C.Gars Ltd permission to sell tobacco products and spirits from the former Ship pub on Greyfriars Way.
However, bosses at the East Norfolk Medical Practice (ENMP) have hit out at the proposals, arguing the use is inappropriate given the building is next door to its Lighthouse Medical Centre.
The Ship building itself served medical purposes as part of the Greyfriars Health Campus, but NHS Property Services sold its freehold to the tobacconist.
The 201-year-old tobacco company, which trades in Norfolk as Turmeaus, is looking to convert the building into its regional headquarters, where it will sell £10,000 bottles of whisky and cigars at £500 a box.
However, ENMP’s managing partner and GP partners have criticised the proposals, suggesting it “sends out entirely the wrong message”.
They said: “Tax-payers’ money would have been used to help develop the health campus and it seems entirely wrong for one of the premises thereon to be used for the supply of tobacco and alcohol products, both of which contribute to significant health problems.”
They added the proposals “send out entirely the wrong message through the immediate proximity of a premises for the sale of alcohol and tobacco to a health centre where we are doing our best to help patients in relation to smoking and alcohol issues”.
However, Mitchell Orchant, managing director of C. Gars Ltd, said there had been a misunderstanding about the nature of the business and that the move would create six new jobs.
He said: “We are not a cigarette and beer shop. We are a very low volume retailer with an average of three customers per day - not exactly Tesco.
“Our range of whisky is priced between £100 and £10,000 a bottle and our cigars typically sell for £500 a box.
“The objection has no merit and my entire team were surprised that the complainant did not even want to engage in conversation to actually understand the type of business we are so we could allay any of their concerns.”