WELL, we’ve done it! We’ve won a national award for the best veterinary practice design in the UK for 2011-2013. Quite a special end to the year, or, in fact, to the last five years.
The practice that had moved to Staithes Lane in 1982 had got on with its job of caring for animals for 25 years in a pleasant spot near to the Wansbeck.
Then, in 2007 Mark Dransfield arrived. He told us we were ‘phase 2’ of his plans for Morpeth and he wanted to build us the surgery of our dreams.
We drew plans, looked for sites and got quite excited until the floods came and filled our surgery with 6ft of water.
We mopped up, moved to portable buildings for nine months and decided that not even our kindly Santa (Mr Dransfield) would build a supermarket on our site now.
So we rebuilt our surgery, and so well that the British Veterinary Hospitals Association gave us an award for the best refurbished surgery in the UK.
Then up popped Santa again, undeterred and still on course for destruction of our lovely surgery.
Following two years of planning and negotiation, a deal was struck, a site agreed, and Tolent was instructed to build a surgery to our specification at Whorral Bank.
One thing we had not envisaged was that fledgling supermarket would arise around us as we awaited the creation of our dream.
The whole structure, apart from the one leg which was to be situated in the region of our waiting room, was towering over us before we sadly, but very thankfully moved.
Our building is incredibly high spec and well worth a few hurdles en route, mostly due to the ‘Design and Build’ method, which certainly would be better described as Build THEN Design.
I think we did try the patience of our benefactor by insisting on local stone, special bricks and every small detail to make the building look outwardly like a renovated farm steading whilst on the inside it was clinically hospital standard.
In fact this summer the RCVS awarded Robson and Prescott ‘hospital’ status, which reflects not only the way in which we practice veterinary medicine, but also the standard of our building.
This was underlined when in November we were shortlisted for the national Practice Design Awards for the ‘best new build’, which, after inspection, we won, and then went on to win the supreme award over all categories.
Meanwhile we’ve opened new branches at West Moor, Kirkley Hall, Staithes Lane, and Alnwick in the New Year.
I think we are all ready for a little less excitement in 2014.
Mark, if you are reading this, we do now have chimneys and expect a visit,