East Herts Council turns down Stortford veterinary hospital's bid to expand
Health care proposals for Bishop’s Stortford pets have fallen foul of planning rules.
The veterinary hospital on the corner of Lindsey Road and Rye Street has been denied planning permission to expand by East Herts Council.
In 1985, after extensive refurbishment, the business achieved hospital status and is the only such facility within a 16-mile radius after more than 125 years on the site.
Directors Ruth Jackson, Neil Macleod and Alison Somers and practice manager Neil Richards argued that the business needed to gear up for the boom in the pet population as thousands of new homes are built in the town.
The practice currently operates out of a former blacksmith’s forge and two sets of old stables in the courtyard behind. The reception, waiting area, consultation rooms, pharmacy and offices are based in the forge, along with some clinical rooms – including preparation and theatre – and kennels. The rest of the kennels and clinical rooms are in the stables.
Directors hoped to increase capacity from four to six consulting rooms, to separate the mixed dog and cat kennels, create a separate endoscopy room, dental room and improve overnight accommodation for staff, who would increase in number.
The business currently employs about 40 people: 12 vets, 15 vet nurses and 13 support staff. Of these, 17 work part-time, meaning that there are around 24 staff on site at any one time, and the plan was to recruit another two full-time vets, two full-time nurses and one full-time support staff member.
On-site parking at the hospital has been increased and the proposals would have meant internal redevelopment of the practice and a new-build extension to the rear, created by demolishing the stables and creating a two-storey building to house the clinical aspects of the hospital.
However, East Herts planners decided: “The proposed development, by reason of its height, massing and siting, would result in a cramped form of development and would have a detrimental effect upon the amenities of the adjacent properties, by reason of its overbearing impact.”