GREAT Malvern will lose its only chemist early next year with efforts being escalated to find a replacement.

Peak Pharmacy is to close Malvern Pharmacy, Church Street, on February 29 following the loss of Boots last March.

West Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin said: “This is worrying news for people who rely on a chemists' shop in the centre of Great Malvern and I’m disappointed that this is the second pharmacy to exit Church Street in a year.

“Peak Pharmacy has written to me to confirm the news and explain their decision. I have reached out to the body responsible for managing Worcestershire’s pharmacy provision to see what we can do to find a replacement plan.

“I have formally asked for a review on whether there is adequate coverage for the town and I will keep a close eye on this matter as we move towards a full closure of the pharmacy next year.”

Councillor Beverley Nielsen, Malvern Hills District Council economic development and tourism portfolio holder, said: “It is a real loss to Great Malvern that soon there’s the possibility we won’t have a local chemist based in the town.

“Given this, MHDC’s economic development team has been working hard to see whether it might be possible to retain one as we recognise this is an important service for our residents.

"We’ve contacted Peak Pharmacy, who currently operate in Malvern, to see if they might be prepared to sell on their licence which they have declined to do.

"We’ve also been in touch with the landlord and at the same time we’re reaching out to other chemist groups to see if any of them might be interested in operating here.

"We’re seeing some signs of interest but unfortunately there are no guarantees at this stage. We will continue to work through the options.”

Matt Webster, Peak Pharmacy head of retail operations, said: "We don't want to make a decision of this nature and when we do it is with a heavy heart.

"It's more a reflection of the wider community pharmacy sector at the moment and the economic pressures it is under. We are not immune to it.

"We feel we have ample provision in Malvern to support our patients. They have the option to move across to one of our three other pharmacies in the Malvern area which will continue to give fantastic levels of pharmacy care."

Regarding the staff at the branch to close, Mr Webster added: "We are doing the right thing to support them."

The group has other outlets in Worcester Road in Malvern Link, Pickersleigh Road and Maple Road while there are alternative chemists elsewhere, including in Worcester Road, Link Top.