A PHARMACY says it has put the needs of the community at the heart of its business by incorporating a Post Office counter on site.

Tollgate Post Office is in the process of moving from Main Road, Tollgate, in Dovercourt, to the nearby Oakley Pharmacy

The decision was made following a public consultation period which ended in July.

Mr Tuffour, the proprietor of Oakley Pharmacy, has clarified he did not seek to "poach the Post Office business from its current site" but was ensuring the continuity of post office services, which otherwise had been in danger of closure.

The Tollgate Post Office had been on the market for several years.

He said: "Should the contract have come to an end without any confirmed interest in renewal, there was considerable risk that the area would be left without a local Post Office.

"Recognising the significance of this, we stepped in to apply for the contract and, after approval, bore the cost and disruption of refitting our pharmacy to accommodate a Post Office counter service.

"Having a Post Office inside a pharmacy provides one-stop for all customers who need to collect prescriptions or use post services."

Tollgate Post Office will keep its name when it is moved into Oakley Pharmacy, which provides ample parking spaces for the convenience of customers.

The renovation works are now complete and a signed contract with the Post Office is in place for relocation to the pharmacy accordingly.

Mr Tuffourt added: "The team at Oakley Pharmacy always put the local community first, ensuring the support and help they provide to local residents is their priority, at the heart of everything they strive to achieve.

“Service throughout the lockdown period has remained continuous and without interruption, with the pharmacy remaining open as usual.

"We also delivered to vulnerable patients and those required to self-isolate or sheltering, who otherwise may not have been able to access their medication."

In July, Tushar Soni, who took over the management of Tollgate Post Office in March, sent a letter to Harwich Town Council asking it to oppose the move.

Harwich Town Council said it would appeal the decision at its last full council meeting, but it has since had a change of mind.

Dave McLeod, Harwich town councillor, said: "We are happy the Post Office is able to carry on nearby."

Mr Soni said: “I have no bad feelings towards the pharmacy.

“We had a petition which raised customers’ concerns and a vast majority were against the move.

“However, as the Post Office has confirmed the move will be going ahead, we wish them all the best for the future.

“Please remember our shop is remaining open and we hope to see all of our customers new and old very soon.”