Plans to open a new pharmacy on Portland have taken a hit due to long certification waits and difficulty finding premises.

Following the closure of the Boots Pharmacy in Fortuneswell earlier this year, pharmacist Stephen McGonigle began looking at opening his own pharmacy to serve the Underhill area.

This included an application to NHS Dorset.

Read more: New application to open pharmacy in Underhill, Portland

The closure of Boots Fortuneswell means that the only pharmacy on the island of 14,000 residents is the Boots Pharmacy in Easton. This worried residents who believed that the Easton Pharmacy would struggle with the extra demand, and it added a geographic hurdle for some residents.

Initially, independent pharmacist Mr McGonigle - who works around south and west Dorset - sought out premises at Portland Hospital, but he says that the offered yearly rental price of £126,000 was unaffordable - forcing him to look elsewhere.

He continues to look for new premises.

Read more: Anger at meeting on closure of Boots pharmacy on Portland

He said: "Given the current dire state of the negotiating committee for Pharmaceutical Contractors and the relentless workload, it looks increasingly unlikely I shall ever hold a contract to provide a pharmaceutical service to the beleaguered residents on the Island of Portland, Dorset. 

"A further fly in the ointment is the proposed rent of £126,000 per annum, and service charges, recently proposed by the custodian of our precious Portland Hospital.

"Pharmacies are under a lot of funding pressure. There is no way I could justify that rent, I would be working for free."

Read more: Sadness as Boots Pharmacy in Fortuneswell, Portland closes

Mr McGonigle has said that his application is supported by the Pharmaceutical Needs Assessment by Public Health Dorset which shows a need for two pharmacies on the island. He had also hoped to include new services made possible by Pharmacy First to give direct care for common conditions.

Read more: March up Portland to protest closing of Boots pharmacy

"I will have to find some new premises hopefully in the north of the island. It is a bit of a spanner in the works," added Mr McGonigle.

"From nothing to start, we have been able to open a business in West Bay and it took three weeks - and the pharmacy is going to take more than a year."

Fortuneswell Boots had a history of more than 100 years and was described as a “local institution” before it closed on Friday, February 16 - despite efforts to try and reverse the decision.

Dorset HealthCare, which is responsible for Portland Hospital, has been approached for comment.