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Boots pull-out saves the oldest pharmacy
BOOTS has pulled out of plans to open a new outlet which threatened to close what is reputedly the oldest pharmacy in England.
Reavley’s Pharmacy, in Burford, has been open since 1734 and has recently been owned by three generations of the same family.
A campaign to save the old pharmacy was launched and a petition against the Boots plan gathered 1,200 signatures.
Pharmacy owner Cedric Reavley, 62, said: “I feel elated and I am deeply grateful to everyone for all their support.
“This old pharmacy would have been under considerable threat if Boots had opened.
“We are now much more optimistic about the future and we hope to be able to serve the community for many more years to come.”
Boots had applied to the Thames Valley Primary Care Agency to open a pharmacy in the town.
But a spokesman said: “It was very much an early application to see if there was the need and requirement for an extra pharmacy service in the town.
“As Mr Reavley points out, it is a very small town and pharmacy services are well covered and provided for so we do not feel it is the right opportunity for us.”
Burford Mayor John White said: “Boots is an admirable institution but its shops do not fit into the high street of a medieval-to-Tudor town.
“I take my hat off to them for making the right decision.”
He added: “The danger was that if Boots opened it could have set a precedent and might have led to other substantial chains opening in our high street.
“If that happened, Burford would have quickly turned into every other high street in the land, and that is not what the town wants or is about.”
The pharmacy came into Mr Reavley’s family when grandfather, Robert Reavley, from Jarrow near Newcastle, bought it in 1918 to be closer to his family.
The current owner’s parents, Cybil and Eric, then took over the store in 1955 before Mr Reavley took control in 1975.
He is also an ordained priest at St John the Baptist Church in Burford.
The business gained the oldest pharmacy in England title after the previous holder, a Yorkshire firm, closed and became a tea shop.
Mr Reavley said a trade magazine found no one had operated longer as a pharmacy than Reavley’s.