A long-awaited pharmacy has finally opened its doors at a Saltney supermarket after a three year battle.
There was jubilation at Morrisons on Saltney High Street this morning as town mayor Alan Evans cut the ribbon to open the service, which was campaigned for by hundreds of residents in 2011.
During the opening ceremony the mayor also received the first prescription ever dispensed at the facility, which has been created as part of a £640,000 store refresh.
It means that residents no longer have to make a four-mile round trip to Broughton to get their prescriptions for free or collect them but pay at an alternative pharmacy on the English side of the town.
County councillor Veronica Gay who set up a petition in favour of the plans, which was signed by more than 700 people, said it is “like all her Christmases have come at once”.
She said: “The people of Saltney have waited for so long for this and for it to finally arrive is fantastic.
“The journey that they had to make – a four-mile round trip to Broughton – the cost of it, the hassle of it for young mums with children and to get up there and find they have not got what is required and they have to make another journey. Now it is on their doorstep, where it should be. It is the centre of our town because whether you like it or not, Saltney is a town.”
The new facility has created five jobs and offers a repeat prescription service, emergency supply service, travel and holiday services and general health advice.
Cllr Evans said: “It has taken all this time since 2012 and we are here today and the residents of Saltney finally have got the pharmacy that they are entitled to under Welsh legislation. They can come here and get their free prescriptions.
“Thank you to Morrisons for using their business strategy to spend money on this pharmacy for the residents of Saltney.”
The supermarket giant initially won permission from Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board to build the pharmacy in 2011, but Boots UK at Broughton Shopping Park and Vittoria Healthcare Ltd on Chester Street appealed to the Welsh Government and in June 2012 ministers ruled that the town had sufficient facilities nearby.
However people power finally won out in January last year, when permission for the supermarket pharmacy was finally granted.
Cllr Gay said today: “Personally I think it was a total misunderstanding from Welsh Government in Cardiff as to the issues of border. They just presumed because Saltney had a pharmacy in England it would be acceptable.
“But it was not right. Our town deserves it and they have finally got it. It’s onwards and upwards from here.”
The new pharmacy manager Sally Lloyd added: “Our customers have already told us that this pharmacy is a welcome and important addition to our community. We’re delighted to share these services with the residents of Saltney.”
The new pharmacy’s opening hours are Monday to Friday: 8.30am – 8pm, Saturday: 8.30am – 6pm and Sunday 10am – 4pm.