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Harrison Drury helps Manchester pharmacy reopen after shock closure


The property litigation team at Harrison Drury has helped a Manchester pharmacy reopen its doors by gaining an emergency injunction following a shock closure.

The owners of McKeevers Chemists in Mossley were locked out of the premises without warning earlier this month, leaving them unable to issue medicines and treatments to local people.

It happened because the landlord of the building forfeited its lease with Lloyds Pharmacy which sublets the building to McKeevers. Lloyds Pharmacy went into liquidation in November 2023 with almost £300 million owed to creditors.

Because the landlord had forfeited the head lease with Lloyds Pharmacy, the sub-lease held by McKeevers had also been terminated and bailiffs gained access to the property and changed the locks.

We helped McKeevers, a family-run pharmacy which has been operating at the site since 2021, and trading since 2003, to regain access by going to the courts with an urgent application for an interim injunction, relief from forfeiture, and a claim for trespass to goods and damages.

Paul McKeever, managing director of McKeevers Chemists, added: “We were shocked when we turned up and realised we couldn’t get into our own building and there was a forfeiture notice on the door.

“We’ve always paid our rent on time and unfortunately found ourselves caught up in somebody else’s business which created a very difficult situation for us. All we want to do is be here for local people, so they can pick up their prescriptions and get the right treatment and advice.

“We are extremely grateful for the hard work put in by Harrison Drury, that allowed us to reopen in just four days.”

Luke Holden, associate solicitor at Harrison Drury, said: “McKeevers provides a vital service to the local community, some of whom are extremely vulnerable.

“The closure of the premises damaged not only our client’s business but had a wider impact for local residents. I’m pleased with the swift decision made by the court and glad to have helped support such an integral community business.”

Explaining what happened in the case, Luke added: “McKeevers had always paid Lloyds on time and had not breached any terms of its lease. It made attempts to contact the landlord for details of any associated costs so it could make payment and regain access, or to sign a new lease on the same terms as the underlease they previously held with Lloyds.

“They also requested access to collect certain medicines which were awaiting collection – these were also ignored. We were left with no option but to file an emergency injunction with Manchester County Court claiming relief from forfeiture and an emergency hearing was scheduled that same day.

“Fortunately, this was granted by the court meaning our client could regain access and get back to supporting customers.”

The interim injunction means McKeevers can continue to trade from the premises uninterrupted by the landlord.

The case for relief from forfeiture will be heard in full later this year where a decision will also be made over legal costs. McKeevers is now hoping to agree a new lease with the landlord.

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