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England’s oldest pharmacy at risk from chain
Buy this photo » Cedric Reavley at his pharmacy in Burford. Picture: OX57729 Ric Mellis
A PHARMACY in Burford reputed to be the oldest in England could close if Boots is allowed to open in the town, it has been claimed.
Reavley’s Pharmacy in High Street has been open since 1734 and is owned by Cedric Reavley, the third generation of his family to operate it.
But now Boots has applied to open a pharmacy in the town and Mr Reavley said this could cause him to go out of business.
Reavley’s started online and in-store petitions which have received more than 800 signatures.
Mr Reavley, 62, who is also an ordained priest, said: “Although Burford has sustained a pharmacy here for many years, I don’t think a small place like this can sustain two. The danger is that if they were to come and open up it would drive me out of business.”
He added: “Burford does not have large chains or shops like Boots. It would totally change the character of the high street and I don’t think it would be appropriate.
“I think the older, traditional style of pharmacy is much more appropriate to this small community.”
Mr Reavley said the oldest pharmacy tag came after the previous holder, a Yorkshire firm, closed and became a tea shop several years ago. Mr Reavley’s grandfather, Robert Reavley, bought the pharmacy in 1918 after he moved from Jarrow, near Newcastle, to be closer to his family in Cheltenham.
Mr Reavley’s parents, Cybil and Eric, took over the store in 1955 and Mr Reavley started running it after qualifying as a pharmacist in 1975.
Burford mayor John White said: “We don’t need a Boots. There is not enough business in the town, which only has 1,200 people on the electoral roll, to cope with two pharmacies.”
Derek Cotterill, Burford’s West Oxfordshire district councillor, said: “It is an appalling idea.
“Cedric is invaluable. He is a very good pharmacist and he is also an ordained priest and does a lot of the pastoral care around here.”
A Boots UK spokesman said: “Boots UK is committed to providing convenient stores for all our customers and we regularly consider new locations.
“An application for a pharmacy contract is one of the very first steps and we take a number of factors into consideration before progressing any further.”
The application will be decided by the Thames Valley Primary Care Agency.
- The petition can be found at http://ipetitions.com/petition/burford-pharmacy
- The Wychwood Surgery in Shipton-under-Wychwood opened a pharmacy last month to replace its dispensary. The pharmacy offers a full dispensing service to both patients and people not registered with the surgery.