WORK is on track to open a new £2.5million Morpeth veterinary centre in June.
Town centre vets Robson and Prescott will relocate to a base at Whorral Bank this summer to make way for the town’s new Morrisons store.
And work is well on the way to create the centre, which will be three times bigger than the vets’ current surgery in Staithes Lane.
The first bricks have been laid for the main surgery, drains have been put in, ground floor concrete slabs are in place and the steelwork frame for the large animal shed has been built.
Once completed the development will provide four operating theatres, a dental suite, x-ray room, ultrasound facilities, animal wards, hydrotherapy and physio rooms and six consulting rooms.
There will also be a separate equine and farm animal unit and parking for more than 60 cars, animal transporters and horse boxes.
Robson and Prescott Director and Vet Chris Green said: “Work is progressing astonishingly quickly and we will be moving within just eight months of the project starting.
“The bulldozers will move into the existing practice at Staithes Lane two weeks after we move to our new premises so it is great news that the work is progressing without any hitches.
“We are limited at the moment by the size and location of our current surgery and the benefits of the new location and premises will be enormous.
“The new practice will enable us to provide far better facilities, all on one site, and offer a more complete service for our clients.
“The building is really taking shape now and everyone in the town seems to be talking about the progress that is being made.”
The practice has had a surgery in Staithes Lane since 1982, but the building will be demolished to create the supermarket car park.
Developer Dransfield Properties is funding the cost of the new veterinary centre as part of a relocation package and North East contractor Tolent is carrying out the work.
The expansion will create six new jobs, including two veterinary posts. The practice also hopes to maintain a presence in the town centre with a small branch surgery in Low Stanners.
In the meantime, the present surgery has extended its opening hours to help customers while town centre roadworks are ongoing.
The practice is offering appointments from 8am and extending morning consultations until 1pm, as well as staying open until 8pm.
Practice Manager Shelagh Prescott said: “We are making special provisions so that clients can miss the traffic congestion in the town centre.
“There is a lot of disruption, but extending our opening hours should help our clients to avoid the worst of the traffic.
“If we need to do more during the coming weeks we will as we want to minimise inconvenience for our clients bringing in sick animals to the surgery and having to battle through busy traffic.”