Go-ahead for new North Walsham vets’ practice

A new vets' surgery on the edge of North Walsham has been given the go-ahead after planning councillors unanimously overturned a recommendation from their officers, worried about road safety.

Beaming vet Faye Bethell said yesterday she was 'ecstatic' after North Norfolk District Council's (NNDC) development committee voted to approve her application for a practice, subject to further discussions with highways officials.

The scheme, next to her home at Toll Barn, Heath Road, off the B1150 North Walsham to Norwich road, would create at least eight jobs.

The building would make use of footings originally laid down for bed and breakfast accommodation.

Stephen Coleman, of Norfolk County Council highways, argued the practice would generate far more traffic than a bed and breakfast business, and turning vehicles at the junction would interfere with the free flow of traffic on a fast stretch of road where there was an accident record. He said visibility from the North Walsham direction was also not as good as it should be.

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But Miss Bethell, who currently works as a locum vet, commissioned a report by an independent consultant challenging the highways objections.

She said the increased number of vehicles, compared to those using a bed and breakfast business, would be very modest and there would far less traffic at weekends.

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Miss Bethell also disagreed with the highways report on the speed of traffic along the stretch, claiming most vehicles kept to the 50mph or below.

The small-animal practice would also care for exotic species, many of whose owners would have travelled some distance. They were likely to visit North Walsham, 1.3 miles away, and use its services while they waited for their animals to be treated.

Her application was supported by North Walsham Chamber of Trade, the town council and Leadership of Place regeneration group whose chairman, Eric Seward, wrote that they wanted to encourage new businesses in the town.

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