A MAJOR operation is under way at a Morpeth vets as staff start packing for a move to a new £3.5million centre.
Morpeth’s oldest veterinary practice Robson and Prescott will be leaving its Staithes Lane base of 30 years next month to make room for the town’s new supermarket development.
But its 32,000 customers need not worry as in addition to opening a small branch surgery opposite its existing building, the practice will be moving into new state-of-the-art headquarters at Whorral Bank, making it one of the region’s biggest veterinary centres and creating seven new jobs.
The development at the former council salt depot site is being funded by Dransfield Properties as part of a relocation package and will be three times bigger than the vets’ current base.
Facilities will be of hospital standard, with four operating theatres, a dental suite, laboratory, X-ray room, ultra sound and endoscopy facilities, as well as separate wards for dogs, cats, birds, small mammals and exotic pets.
There will be a physio and hydrotherapy suite, six consulting rooms and a large animal and equine wing, with loose boxes, an examination room and a padded knock-down box.
Parking for 60 cars, animal transporters and horse boxes will also be provided.
Practice manager Shelagh Prescott said: “The building is taking shape and is starting to look like a veterinary practice.
“The external shell is complete and the first mechanical, electrical and ventilation systems have been installed.
“So many people in Northumberland are talking about the new site because it is in such a prominent position. I think we have a most attractive building, which blends into the countryside and surrounding landscape. This is important as it is at a gateway to Morpeth.”
Contractor Tolent started work on the centre in October, with the big move scheduled for June 29 and opening on Monday, July 2.
Staff have started packing up veterinary equipment and supplies in a huge logistical operation that will take several weeks.
There will be no surgical facilities at Staithes Lane from June 18, but the surgery will be open for consultations.
Operations will be transferred to Ashington or Blyth, with evening consultations, from 6pm to 8pm, taking place at Ashington.
The phone lines will be unavailable for some short periods between June 29 and July 3 while the service is being transferred to the new centre. Clients having difficulty contacting the centre should call the Ashington branch on 01670 812189.
Normal service should resume for all arrangements when the Whorral Bank premises opens.
The vets hope to open the small town centre branch at 38 Staithes Lane in early July.
Mrs Prescott said: “Moving from Staithes Lane is the end of an era because we have been in this part of Morpeth since 1938, but we’re going to have such excellent facilities and clients will find access very easy.”