RE: Planned Closure of Boots North Kenton

Dear Sebastian James, I am writing to you with deep concern following recent news that 300 Boots stores will close; among these will be the branch in North Kenton in my constituency, whose closure is planned for the 2nd of March.

This Boots pharmacy plays a vital role in the provision of healthcare for the community in North Kenton, providing localised access for residents to collect their prescriptions and access to medicines.

As a child growing up in North Kenton, my family and I relied on the pharmacy at this location. If this planned closure goes ahead, the nearest pharmacies for North Kenton residents will be over a mile away, on Gosforth High Street and in Fawdon. Many who rely on the pharmacy today will find it difficult to walk so far and transport costs are high, especially in a cost of living crisis.

This closure will disproportionally affect older and disabled residents who depend on the pharmacy, they will face extreme anxieties and difficult decisions about how to obtain medications essential to their health.

I visited the North Kenton Boots on 16/02/2024 and the staff informed me that despite the store closing within just a few weeks, they were still administering over 100 prescriptions. Several patients attended during my relatively short visit to collect their prescriptions. Surely this attests to the continued importance of this branch.

I would urge you to rethink the closure of this store and to take into consideration the devastating impact this will have on the health and wellbeing of many of the most vulnerable members of the community.

Sadly many large high street retailers have been impacted by 14 years of economic mismanagement by the Conservative government. Despite empty shopfronts becoming the norm, the government have presented no ideas to revive our decimated high streets.

In contrast to this, Labour will support business to thrive on high streets with an overhaul of the current Business Rates system, replacing this with a new system of business taxation that would better balance the burden between our high streets and the biggest online and digital firms. Labour will also act to attract shoppers and footfall back to the high street by giving councils new powers to take over empty shops and reopen them without consent from the property’s owners.

Yours sincerely,

Chi Onwurah

Labour MP for Newcastle upon Tyne Central
Shadow Minister for Science, Research and Innovation


On behalf of Sebastian James

Dear Ms Onwurah,

Thank you for the letter dated 23rd February regarding the Boots pharmacy at Halewood Avenue, North Kenton, in your constituency.

We are grateful to you for sharing your constituent’s feedback and I absolutely recognise the strength of feeling in the local community about the pharmacy closure.

However, I can assure you that Boots has considered this decision very carefully and assessed all relevant operational, financial and property information. Unfortunately, this process has concluded that the store is no longer viable, and consequently we are unable to rethink our plans at this stage which means the closure will proceed as planned in March.

We recognise that you and your constituents will be disappointed, but we are working closely with local GP surgeries to support patients to transfer their care and prescriptions to alternative pharmacies so there is continuity in access to medicines and the provision of healthcare services and advice in the local community.

Whilst we accept that we are asking local residents to travel further to visit nearby branches, the Boots store at the Kingston Park Centre is approximately 1 mile away and our pharmacy on Gosforth High Street is 1.5 miles away.

We hope that many customers will choose to stay with Boots, although we recognise that it may be more convenient for some patients to transfer to an alternative pharmacy closer to where they live depending on their circumstances. Delivery of NHS prescriptions is also available when customers sign up to use the Boots Online Prescriptions Service which may be an option for some local residents to consider.

We understand that you will remain disappointed by the closure, but I hope this response provides you with more insight regarding the decision and reassures you that Boots is committed to supporting the healthcare needs of the local community in Kenton and across Newcastle Central more broadly.

Thank you again for the letter and please contact me if you require any further information.

Best regards,

Sebastian James

Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Boots UK & ROI

Walgreens Boots Alliance – Retail Pharmacy International

D90, 1 Thane Road, Beeston, Nottingham, NG90 1BS

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