Campaigners are celebrating after an application to bring a pharmacy to the Flintshire side of Saltney was given the green light.
A letter was sent to Saltney Town Council last week telling them that permission to build a chemist at Morrisons had finally been granted – more than three years after an application was first submitted.
The plans were originally given the go-ahead by Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board but were thrown out by the Welsh Government following objections from neighbouring pharmacies.
Residents argued that without the Morrisons pharmacy, they were forced to make a four-and-a-half mile round trip to the nearest Welsh alternative or pay for their prescriptions at a pharmacy on the English side of Saltney.
Members of local groups and committees such as the 50+ Group, Saltney Stonebridge Community Group, Saltney Ferry and Mold Junction Tennant's and Residents Association, and the Saltney History Group joined forces with town councillors to launch a petition in favour of the chemist.
It was signed by more than 700 people after residents – many in their 70s and 80s – went door-to-door to rally support.
Cllr Veronica Gay says the community is thrilled with the news.
“Power to the people!”, she said.
“It has been a long and difficult struggle but we are over the moon that the decision has finally been overturned.
“We would like to pass on a great big thank you to the community and all those who went round with the town councillors to get the petition signed.”
Cllr Gay, along with fellow councillors Richard Lloyd and Saltney Mayor Edith Greensmith, expressed thanks to AMs Carl Sargeant and Mark Isherwood for their support during the campaign.
Despite the celebrations, chemists on the English side of Saltney are not so enthusiastic, fearing the extra competition from the supermarket giant will put their businesses under threat.
Paul Murphy, of Vittoria Healthcare which appealed against the plans, said: “We have been providing a high quality service for people of both sides of Saltney for many years and it is a disappointment that the supermarket power has got its way – Morrisons has ploughed money into their campaign and got what they want.
“We don’t understand why the government has decided to allow a pharmacy to be built approximately 1,000m down the road from another one which already offers collection and delivery services.”
Paul explained the prescription charge paid by customers does not go to the pharmacy.
He added: “We collect the money on behalf of the NHS in England but the Welsh Government take a different view on this.”
Brutus the Morrisons cat also turned up to the store to show his support.