Alder Vets – Guildford

Conversion to New Veterinary Clinic, Guildford 2022

In September of 2020, ACD Projects were approached by Linnaeus to discuss a possible new site for Alder Vets, a small animal veterinary practice based in Guildford, Surrey.

A potential site for the practice had already been located. Situated in the north of Guildford, the space was formally a Budgens supermarket and was then partially occupied by a Tesco Express, leaving an ideal amount of room for the Vets and the services they wished to offer in their new facility.

Linnaeus asked us to give our opinion on the site, to ensure that it would meet the requirements of the Alder team, who were largely involved throughout the design process. Following an initial visit, we consulted with a structural engineer and undertook a building survey report to ensure that it was a structurally viable location for a practice. This also established that there was an opportunity for the practice to implement a first-floor mezzanine in the future. We then developed preliminary layouts for the Alder team, and as always, worked with them collaboratively to revise the layouts until everybody was happy with the final design.

When it came to planning, Alder Vets thankfully did not require full planning permission due to the site being a retail unit. Whilst historically retail and vets had been separate use classes, a new planning reform had been introduced which led to a number of councils recognising vets under a new Class E, alongside retail. Therefore, the only step required in this instance was a certificate of lawfulness which established that the change of use between retail and veterinary was, in this case, permittable.  We also, later in the process, successfully submitted planning for an external bin store to the rear of the building which was approved by Guildford Borough Council.

After progressing to tender in the project and securing a contractor, the only large hurdles faced during the conversion were a lack of water supply to the building and issues with internet connection. Thankfully, both issues were resolved with effective communication between the necessary parties.

The new state-of-the-art practice, which opened in January of 2022, now offers the community exceptional facilities including separate cat and dog waiting areas, fully equipped consult rooms, exotics ward, isolation, two large theatres, and dental suite.