PEOPLE will finally be able to pick up prescriptions closer to home after NHS England approved an appeal to open a new pharmacy at a fast-growing development near Bicester.

Proposals to open Heyford Park Pharmacy were initially rejected back in March after the NHS concluded the facility would not bring significant benefits to the area.

But applicants Minerva Clinical Services (MCS) appealed the decision and it has now been given the green light.

Dr Toby Quartley, director of MCS and an Alchester Medical Group GP partner, said: “We’re thrilled that we’ll now be able to bring pharmacy services to Heyford Park, a place that we know is both right and ready for this.

"It’s happening thanks to the great support shown by local people and their representatives since we first put the idea forward more than a year ago."

Besides the supply of medicines and pharmaceutical advice there are also plans for the pharmacy to offer seasonal flu jabs and some GP consultations and nursing appointments on-site.

MCS has already earmarked premises on Camp Road that it aims to make ready to open during 2022.

From then on, everyone living at Heyford Park or nearby will be able to choose to pick up their prescription or over-the-counter medicines from the new local pharmacy, saving them from making trips to Bicester or Deddington.

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Resident Bethanie Clark says many will appreciate having a pharmacy nearby.

She said: “I think the pharmacy at this point was a necessity for the village. Many residents are patients at Alchester in Bicester or the surgery in Deddington, which are quite far away, especially if you don't drive. With GP's tending to opt for phone appointments now, having a pharmacy in the village that the prescriptions can be sent directly to will make a lot of people's lives so much easier.

"It's one of the most asked for favours in the village Facebook groups: "Is anyone popping here, could you pick a prescription up for me?" etc, so having a pharmacy within walking distance for most will be a fantastic addition.”

Heyford Park is a development of 1,600 new homes and community facilities sited on the former RAF and USAF Upper Heyford airbase.

Another resident Andy Smith said: "It's a huge win for the community which is obviously growing but more essentially getting older. I've lived here 16 years now and it's nice to know one is within walking distance.”

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Many local residents wrote letters to NHS England in support of the application, which also gained the formal written support of Heyford Park Parish Council, Upper Heyford Parish Council, Heyford Park Residents Association and Steeple Aston Parish Council.

Cherwell District councillor Ian Corkin said: "Having given evidence at the appeal hearing, I am delighted to learn it has been approved. This is an important primary care facility, sustainably located in the heart of the community and will be of great benefit to both residents and those employed at Heyford Park alike."

Cherwell District councillor Andrew McHugh lead member for health and wellbeing said: "I am delighted with this decision. It is a victory for common sense. It is great news for the people of Heyford Park and surrounding area. It will make life a lot easier, particularly for elderly and vulnerable patients."

Paul Silver, Chief Executive of Heyford Park developers Dorchester Living said: “This is fantastic news for all at Heyford Park as an onsite pharmacy is a key part of our vision for the community as it continues to grow.

"It will provide local health services and GP consultancy to existing and new residents as they move in, whilst also reducing the need for car journeys to nearby areas.

"It’s another important public service and will be located at Heyford Park’s Village Centre, which is already home to a thriving dental practice, local bike shop and a Sainsbury’s.”

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