STAFF at Morpeth’s oldest veterinary practice are counting down the days to their big move.
Work on Robson and Prescott’s new main branch at Whorral Bank is scheduled to be completed on July 13 and the new surgery is due to open on July 16.
The practice is moving from Low Stanners to the former Northumberland County Council salt depot site to make room for a supermarket development by Dransfield Properties, which is funding the cost of the new centre as part of a relocation package.
Contractor Tolent began the work on October 10 and staff have now begun the process of packing up veterinary equipment and supplies in what will be a major logistical operation.
The expansion will create seven new jobs, including two veterinary posts.
Practice Manager Shelagh Prescott said: “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 and this is important as it is at a gateway to Morpeth.
“For a mixed practice the new facilities will be among the best in the country and up to hospital standard.
“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.
“We’re desperate to get up and running because we’re living on a building site at the moment. With all the upheaval we’ve had, including being flooded out in 2008, it will be nice once we’re settled into the new premises.”
Robson and Prescott employs 52 staff and has a client base of 32,000. Facilities at the new premises will include four operating theatres, a laboratory, dental suite, X-ray room, physio and hydrotherapy suite and a large animal and equine wing.
There will be separate wards for dogs, cats, birds, small mammals and exotics.
The practice hopes to open its new branch surgery across the road from where it is now in Staithes Lane on July 30.
This will cater for clients for whom it is more convenient to see the vet in Morpeth centre and to pick up prescriptions. An ambulance service will be provided up to the Whorral Bank surgery for animals that require further treatment.
Mark Dransfield, Managing Director of Dransfield Properties, said: “We have worked closely with the staff at Robson and Prescott throughout the whole process to ensure we get the design and layout right and everyone involved with the project is delighted with the new practice which is now nearing completion.”