A HIGH street chemist closed down yesterday.

Boots in London Road, Brighton is set to be turned into student accommodation, along with the neighbouring Co-op.

Staff said they have been able to keep their jobs. They did not want to be named, but said it was “the end of an era”.

A shop assistant said: “We’re all really sad. Our customers don’t want to have to go all the way into town.”

Outside the chemist on the day it shut, long-time customers were devastated.

Gene Grant, 88, is Brighton born and bred. She uses a mobility aid.

She said: “I’m fed up, for obvious reasons. This is supposed to be a convenience store. I’ll have to go all the way to North street now. How will I do that?

“It’s outrageous. We need a chemist in the area.”

“I can’t believe they’re making more student flats. It will never work. They’re only here for a few years. I had students living next to me for a while. For the most part they were fine, but some of them were absolute shockers.”

The shelves were bare on Boots’ last day, and there were just a few customers inside.

One, who did not wish to be named, said: “At least they’re not losing their jobs here like they are at the Co-op. They’re very lucky the other Boots has managed to absorb them.

“I’ve been coming for more than 20 years. I’m shocked. It’s been here for ages. It’s convenient and they have a vast range of products. There’s one girl who has worked here for 34 years.”

Emily Perry, 42, lives nearby. She said: “It’s sad. More and more shops are closing round here as the rent gets higher. “

Dennis Piercey lives near London Road. He said: “I’m 90. I’ve been coming here since I was in my twenties.

“The thing is, it’s the local one. I come here for all my medication. I don’t know where to go now.”

In June, Boots said it would be closing 200 stores across the country.

But a manager at the chemist wanted to clarify this was not among the planned closures. She said: “It wasn’t a Boots decision.”

Boots previously said: “Following a decision to develop the premises of our London Road Brighton store, and despite significant efforts by Boots, we have unfortunately been unable to confirm a new location for this store and it will therefore be closing on September 20.

"We understand this is difficult for the community.”