OVERJOYED villagers are celebrating after Tesco scrapped plans to build an in-store pharmacy across the road from a family-owned dispensary.
The U-turn came after thousands of residents and customers united to fight the plans which they feared would ‘bulldoze’ the much-loved father-and-son-run Fearns Pharmacy on Britannia Road, Helsby.
More than 3,000 people from Frodsham, Helsby, Alvanley and Kingsley signed a petition to stop the supermarket giant opening an in-store rival service just metres away from the small pharmacy.
Pharmacists Joe and Michael Fearns have said they have been overwhelmed by the support of their customers and the local community who flocked to the store to sign the petition and offer kind messages of support.
Michael explained that a representative from the supermarket had rung to explain their U-turn decision just a day after the Primary Care Trust (PCT) inspectors visited the site.
Michael added: “He called to explain why it had taken such a long time, and said that given the public reaction to the pharmacy they thought they could use the space better in the store.
“All credit to them they did actually listen. It was such a surprise, but it is down to the amazing response and the fantastic feedback. I was surprised, we were all shocked and delighted with the news.
“We were never going to give up, it would have just made everything so much harder. But thanks to the incredible support it feels like a massive weight has been lifted and we can carry on providing services to our customers.”
Helsby parish councillor Frank Thomas said that the decision was due to ‘the power of the people’. He said: “What caused Tesco to change their mind we have no idea, but it seems to me that people power has worked.
“Everyone is really pleased, we did not need another pharmacy in Helsby. The area will be used for something else, but the decision has been left open so they could come back and develop one in some years to come.”
Tesco spokesman Michael Kissman said the decision had been made after listening to the views of customers and the local community.
He said: “We listened to our customers and the community about what they want to see in their store, and they were telling us that they had access to a pharmacy in the area.
“We may be an international business but we are determined to serve the local community’s needs.”