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 in Oakley Road.

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

Harwich Town Council had been against the move and more than 370 people opposed the moves.

But Ben Tuffour, the proprietor of Oakley Pharmacy, said he did not seek to “poach the post office business from its current site”, but was ensuring the continuity of post office services, which 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,” he added.

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

“Service throughout the lockdown period has remained continuous 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.

The town council said it would appeal against the decision at its last full council meeting, but it has since had a change of mind.

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