Vets seek planning permission for extension

The former railway station at Askrigg. Photo: Google.

The owners of a Dales veterinary practice have appealed for support from the national park’s custodians in providing round-the-clock care for animals in the area where all developments are subject to rigorous checks.

Vets Davinia Hinde and Michael Woodhouse from Bainbridge Vets have lodged an application with the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority to extend and convert a historic traditional stone property which supported the Wensleydale Railway in Askrigg before the line closed in 1964, to facilitate the “overnight supervision of hospitalised animals”.

The village doubled as Darrowby for the original James Herriot TV series starring Christopher Timothy, Peter Davison and Robert Hardy, with many of the exterior shots filmed there, including the vets’ local pub and the veterinary practice where they lived and worked.

The move in Askrigg comes amid claims that many young vets are turning their backs on large-scale practices due to low pay and difficult working conditions and that the era of vets being expected to visit clients in all types of weather has ended.

In addition, last year, the British Veterinary Association highlighted “a storm of shortages” after the workforce saw a drop of more than two-thirds in new EU registrants coming to work in the UK in the previous two years.

However, planning documents submitted state the pair, who have been working in the area since qualifying in 2006, want help to continue the tradition of 24/7 veterinary care in the heart of the national park.

The papers state they want to create four-bedroomed accommodation in a redundant Askrigg station building beside their established Bainbridge Vets practice to ensure “high welfare and animal husbandry” standards.

The couple said as their clientele “gets increasingly demanding” they had also increased their small animal and equine work significantly, which meant more hospitalised animals, while many farm animals were also seen at the surgery.

The planning papers state with the equipment and investment in the vets practice being considerable, security is essential, and that the vets make up to 20 journeys through Askrigg over a weekend to support the practice and to check on animals and support staff.

They add: “The veterinary surgery is an essential business in the Dales. Providing first opinion consultations for domestic animals, performing surgery, as well as dispensing farm drugs and farm consultations. It employs 13 people and provides an invaluable service.

“Having a presence on site would help to provide greater security for our clients.”

Agents for the vets said transforming the building so they could live in it with their young family and provide  also out of hours accommodation to support other staff working on the site.

The papers state: “Sustainably it is better to re-use this building and repurpose it. Enabling evolution of building rather than the creation of new. This is a sustainable approach to provide additional living accommodation. It would contribute to providing more living accommodation in the Dales whilst having little impact on the vernacular or on the built environment.”


    • Sounds like a way of making excellent use of a redundant building to support a long established business that in turn supports numerous residents and other businesses with an essential service.

  1. This planning needs to go through.

    These are the essential had working people we need in upper Wensleydale.

    NOT holiday cottages and second homes.

  2. How lucky you all are to have not only an independent veterinary practice, but one with sufficient vision showing long term commitment to your area. I wish then every success with this application.

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