PROPOSALS for a specialist veterinary hospital located close to the A1 in County Durham have been unveiled.
The plans are earmarked for land next to the Bradbury Services, on the A689 near the A1 at Sedgefield.
If the scheme progresses, the applicant, chartered surveyor and commercial property consultant Mark Cottam, claims it will create 30 full-time and five part-time jobs.
Two years ago, county planners granted planning permission for an 80-bed hotel, but that development has not progressed.
According to the design statement lodged with Durham County Council for the new scheme, the hospital would offer specialist diagnostics, treatment and surgery for small animals such as cats and dogs.
The hospital would cover a huge geographical area, taking in animals from vets as far away as Liverpool, Leeds, Hull and Glasgow and Edinburgh in Scotland.
“The highly specialised and skilled nature of this service differentiates it from general veterinary practice,” adds the statement.
The hospital would occupy about two-thirds of the land available next to the services, leaving the rest available for “complementary” development should an appropriate use be found.
In the meantime, landscaping would be carried out on the vacant area of the site.
Among the facilities the hospital would house are an intensive care unit, pharmacy and lab as well as operating theatres, x-ray and an isolation unit.
There would also be a reception, waiting area, consulting rooms, visiting room and hospitality room for visitors.
The hospital would be environmentally-friendly, with a biomass heating system and energy from solar power.
Developers say there would also be much less traffic going to and from the hospital, compared to the hotel plan.
Instead of car parking for 80 vehicles, which was approved as part of the hotel scheme, the hospital proposes just 40.
“Access to the site will generally be in small numbers, spread through the day and largely by prior appointment. The site is ideal for this,” adds the statement.
Shincliffe-based Mr Cottam was unavailable yesterday to discuss the proposals.
The period for public consultation ends on Tuesday, January 8.