Castletown pharmacy plan rejected after outcry

The proposals for the Castletown pharmacy have been rejected. Picture: Jane Barlow
The proposals for the Castletown pharmacy have been rejected. Picture: Jane Barlow
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A CONTROVERSIAL plan for a new pharmacy in a remote Highland village has been rejected following a campaign by locals against the application.

The bid by Sanjay Majhu of Glasgow-based Apple Pharmacy to set up business in Castletown, Caithness, outraged the local community.

They claimed it would be a disaster for the village, putting a local GP practice dispensary at risk and threatening 19 jobs.

The application refusal was made following a meeting of the NHS Highland Pharmacy Practices Committee (PPC).

‘Complete lack of local support’

An NHS Highland spokeswoman said: “In looking at the application the PPC had to determine whether allowing the application was necessary or desirable in the area.

“The Committee visited the area in question and they also had the outcome of the applicants and the Health Boards public consultations which showed a complete lack of support for a pharmacy in this area.

“While it was acknowledged that there are currently no pharmaceutical services within the area it was agreed that, as residents can access these services easily in Thurso, the applicant had not been successful in proving inadequacy of pharmaceutical services.”

The decision to refuse the application was unanimous.

Under the regulations this decision may be appealed within 21 days of 8 April.


A Facebook campaign was started when the application was first made, with residents faring about the viability of the Canisbay and Castletown group practice if approved.

Local GPs Dr Wilma MacLeod and Dr Hercules Robinson, in a letter to patients, said the proposal would have “a really significant effect” on the practice and the services it provides.

But Mr Majhu claimed the pharmacy would offer the public a much better service compared to the existing dispensary.