Appeal lodged against decision to reject ‘robot’ pharmacy on the Isle of Man

In its appeal it said the proposal would not impact on the viability and vitality of the town centre.

A company has lodged an appeal after its proposals for a ‘robotic retail pharmacy’ were refused by the planning committee.

Kingsley Muti Ltd’s application was recommended for approval by the planning officer, but was rejected by committee by the narrowest of margins, with the vote split three-three and refused on the casting vote of chairman Rob Callister MHK.

Now the applicant has lodged an appeal.

Island-based pharmaceutical company Kingsley Muti Ltd has a wholesale warehouse on the Balthane Industrial Estate but had applied for a change of use to allow it to be used for a pharmacy dispensing site and pick up place for Manx Care and private prescription medicines (23/01468/C).

Its aim is to be the largest dispensing pharmacy in the island by pioneering robotic medicine dispensing, with a long-term plan to dispense pharmaceuticals around the world.

Medicines, purchased in bulk, would go through a degree of robotic sorting, packaging and dispensing as per the prescription/order and then sent out for collection or delivery.

The planning committee rejected the application on the grounds that the site is zoned for industrial use and not retail in the Strategic Plan and Southern Area Plan.

Kingsley Muti, whose directors include former Microgaming chief executive officer Roger Raatgever, said it wanted its BMS House premises on Portway to become a ‘retail pharmacy’, but the scale of retail would be minimal and incidental to the main use of the building.

In its appeal it said the proposal would not impact on the viability and vitality of the town centre.

It said the proposal would ‘improve the vitality and diversity by providing much-needed medicines resilience’, and the employment opportunities proposed would be highly skilled, professional and permanent jobs.

Manx Care had supported the application and added the company to the pharmaceutical list. But the Department of Health and Social Care said it did not consider it could register the premises for retail sale or supply given the current planning designation.

He said: ‘The use as a retail pharmacy, essentially at the front of the building, would be of a small scale, essentially being ancillary. This proposal is not seen to undermine the vitality and viability of town centre retail areas.’

Kingley Muti’s appeal concludes: ‘As endorsed by the case officer, the change of use is not considered to be unacceptable.

‘There is no impact on general amenity concerns or any other matter of recognised importance and no other material considerations which support a refusal and the inspector is requested to uphold our appeal.’


2024-03-12T12:05:12+00:0012 March 2024|
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