Building works have begun on a new veterinary referral centre in South Tyneside, following a capital investment of £2.7m – which is set to create up to 70 jobs over the next two years.

From internal medicine to complex surgical procedures, Bridge Referrals Ltd will provide veterinary services for small animals in the North East from its new hub at Boldon Business Park in the Boldon Colliery ward.

Planning permission was granted for the project in January 2022 and once complete, the practice will comprise of six consult rooms and four theatres, with latest state of the art technology from CTs and x-rays to MRI machines.

The referral centre will have expertise across a range of disciplines and referrals to the site are expected to include orthopaedics, soft tissue surgery, neurosurgery, ophthalmology, oncology, internal medicine and diagnostic imaging.

The business is expected to open in November 2022 and will cover a catchment area extending from Northumberland and the Scottish Borders to Teesside and North Yorkshire.

In its first two years of operation, Bridge referrals is expected to create up to 70 high-quality jobs – from highly specialised veterinary roles to nursing apprenticeships for school leavers.

Sarah Harrison, Director at Bridge Referrals said: “It took us several months to find the perfect location for Bridge Referrals and accessibility was a key factor in making this decision. We saw there was scope for a new veterinary referral centre in South Tyneside as a central location in the North East, with excellent transport links including direct access to the A19, as well as bespoke space to create a hub.

“South Tyneside Council were extremely open and excited about our concept and offering, supporting our journey every step of the way, from initial plans to planning permission. This is a complex project, with several stakeholders and we’ve received support from a range of organisations. We want to say special thanks to those who have helped us along the way, from the council, NatWest, Knight Frank, Ward Hadaway, Brims and Howarth Litchfield.

“At the forefront of this project is sustainability and we’ve invested heavily in our strategy to make the practice as sustainable as possible, this includes the use of heat pumps, recycling initiatives and reusing for the future.

“We have ambitious plans for the veterinary centre but ultimately, we just want to bring the best possible service and experience for our clients and their animals across the North East and our new home at Boldon Business Park will allow us to do just that.”

Cllr Mark Walsh, Lead Member of Regeneration and Economy at South Tyneside Council, said: “We’re delighted to welcome this exciting venture to the borough, and I’m pleased that the council has been able to support Bridge Referrals throughout the process.

“With ambitious plans, and the potential to create scores of high-quality jobs, this business will be a real asset to South Tyneside and I look forward to watching it grow and evolve.”

To find out more about Bridge Referrals, please visit: www.bridgereferrals.co.uk