Church Street regeneration 'could put me out of business' says pharmacist
Owen Sheppard, Local Democracy Reporter
- Credit: LDRS
A pharmacist who has served Church Street residents for 40 years is “petrified” that the redevelopment of the area could put him out of business.
Dhimant Patel, 62, and who owns the Collins Chemist, has been told to vacate his shop by December.
That’s because the block of flats, which his shop and a dozen others sit beneath, is one of the first in a long list of buildings to be demolished and rebuilt as part a flagship regeneration project.
Westminster Council says the scheme, west of Lisson Grove, will provide new homes and improved public space.
Mr Patel said: “It’s sad because it feels like my professional life is coming to an end, even though I don’t want to retire. I could easily do this job for another 10 years.
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“I’m petrified and I’m looking for other premises to move to. But I have 10,000 patients in my catchment area. I need to find somewhere where I’ll still have my customers.”
Mr Patel said: “I’ve heard nothing about compensation or a disturbance fee. It’s amazing that we still don’t know what’s going on or what’s coming.”
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He added: “We have been part of the community for 40 years. We would appreciate the council saying ‘we value you and we’re going to hold your hand through this’.”
Shiraz Mohamed, of Market Chemist, said: “I have been in Church Street since 1981. I feel the regeneration is well overdue, but the way they’re going about it is not quite right.”
The two men both work in blocks which will be redeveloped in the first phase of the regeneration. Planning applications are set to be submitted later this year – and the first work will see almost 400 homes built.
Westminster Council's regeneration chief, Cllr Heather Acton, said: "The plan is that this will ensure local people and businesses can remain at the heart of this strong, vibrant and diverse community. The additional homes are recognised as much needed in the area."
The councillor said the town hall had been speaking with traders for two years and that existing retailers were "an integral part of the community".
The town hall added it will "work with businesses to find new units either on or in close proximity to Church Street where possible" and said it has offered compensation to businesses with affected premises.
The public consultation on the first stage of regeneration runs until March 31 at churchstreet.org.