Huddersfield’s only 24/7 emergency veterinary hospital will be allowed to expand despite residents’ complaints over car parking in nearby streets.

Donaldson’s purpose-built animal hospital opened in Somerset Road, Almondbury, in 2019 and now they want to extend the building.

The independently-owned firm, which features heavily in Channel 5’s The Yorkshire Vet – wants a two-storey side extension to increase its consulting rooms from six to 10.

But more than 30 residents in and around Somerset Road, Longley Road and Broadgate objected claiming parking by staff near their homes caused a road safety hazard and general inconvenience.

A meeting of Kirklees Council’s Strategic Planning Committee was told that when the original planning permission was granted it was anticipated that there would be around 57 staff on the site. Now 100 are based there, though staffing is spread over 24 hours, seven days a week.

Residents complained of double parking and the obstruction of junctions, driveways and bus stops and at first Kirklees Council highways officers objected to the plans on highway safety grounds.

However, Donaldson’s employed a consultant and worked with the council to draw up a draft Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) which would involve double yellow lines around junctions and residents-only parking permits introduced in specific locations.

As part of the planning permission Donaldson’s agreed to pay £5,200 for implementation of the TRO. They also agreed to compile a Travel Plan to advise staff on travel to work.

Donaldson’s director Martin Paterson said the company was a Huddersfield success story with surgeries in Thongsbridge, Birchencliffe, Mirfield, Sowerby Bridge, Shepley and Heckmondwike with another soon to open in Penistone.

The company now employed a total of 180 people but the extensions weren’t about increasing staff but helping reduce waiting times. Speeding up treatment times would also improve turnover in the car park.

Mr Paterson – pictured below speaking at the planning meeting – said the firm had engaged with local residents and councillors over the parking issues and recently held a meeting. They also supported the TRO.

He said Donaldson’s works alongside various local and national charities, supports community events and promotes the town through The Yorkshire Vet.

Mr Paterson added: “In short we are the kind of business that Huddersfield needs and that Kirklees Council should support.”

Clr Andrew Cooper (Green, Newsome) said inconsiderate parking had “caused a great deal of angst” for local residents and he wasn’t convinced a Travel Plan – to promote bus use or cycling – would make much of a difference.

He said the TRO could just “make the problem worse” by moving cars elsewhere and called for the application to be refused on highways grounds.

Clr Andrew Pinnock (Lib Dem, Cleckheaton) said while the yellow lines (above) on junctions would help, the problem could well be “passed further down the road to a different group of people.”

He added: “I am not convinced we have the answer.”

Clr Bill Armer (Con, Kirkburton) said he had “reservations” as while Donaldson’s was a good local company, residents did experience “very severe problems” at times.

When it came to the vote five councillors voted to approve the application while both councillors Pinnock and Armer abstained. The application was approved.