Chipping Norton vets practice £600,000 investment in new premises

NatWest’s Steve Moore with Dr Martin Whitehead and Trevor, Martin’s working golden retriever.

NatWest’s Steve Moore with Dr Martin Whitehead and Trevor, Martin’s working golden retriever. - Credit: Archant

A Cotswolds veterinary hospital is celebrating a move to brand-new, purpose-built premises.

Chipping Norton Veterinary Hospital, which had been on the same site in Albion Street since it was founded in the 1960s, has taken up residence in its state-of-the-art new home on the Banbury Road with help from NatWest.

The new premises boasts improved facilities including four consulting rooms instead of the two it had previously, separate wards for dogs, cats and other animals, a much larger waiting rooms in which dogs and cats can be kept apart, more kennels and a bigger treatment room where up to three animals at a time can be prepared for surgery or treatment.

Director Martin Whitehead said: “Like almost all vets, years ago the practice focused on farm work so it had a small premises and most of the work involved going out to farms. These days there is much less farm work and we mostly see domestic animals such as cats and dogs as well as exotic pets, so the building was just too small.

“The new hospital means we can be vastly more efficient. We also have photovoltaic cells on the roof, which makes the

building environmentally-friendly and in the long term will save us money.

“The new build provides a very much nicer working environment for our staff and we put much thought into that during

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the design process. We designed the building to have a lot of natural light and the rear of the prep room has large glass

doors which look out over fields. We have a staff room now that the staff can actually fit into, as the staff room at our

last premises was far too small.

“Also we have at least one nurse on site 24 hours, so we have a flat upstairs where they can sleep at those times when they are not dealing with the inpatients. The flat here is far nicer and more spacious than was the one in the previous


Other developments include a dog grooming centre set up at the hospital by receptionist Lucie Robinson, and there are plans for a luxury cattery behind the new premises which as well as boarding cats short-term will have an unusual twist.

“The cattery will have about eight units, with one used to house stray cats for local organisation Sunshine Cat Rescue,” said Martin. “We will take on one cat at a time to live in the cattery. There will be CCTV in its unit with the video displayed on a screen in our waiting room. We envisage that someone seeing it will re-home the cat, and then we’ll take in another one.”

Martin and fellow director Peter Kettlewell are hopeful that the move to a more prominent location with a bigger car park will lead to growth at the practice, which also has small branches in Burford and Bloxham. They are about to take on a seventh vet and may recruit an additional nurse and receptionist in future.

The directors worked with NatWest relationship director Steve Moore, who specialises in the healthcare sector, and Jim Heppell, director of corporate and commercial banking for Oxfordshire, to borrow £620,000 via the Government’s

Funding for Lending scheme towards the building of the hospital. Steve said: “We are delighted to have supported the ambitions of the directors with the development of the new purpose built veterinary surgery. The new premises are extremely impressive and will allow the business to better meet the needs of its customers with its wide range of services and facilities.”