11th May 2015

Business advisers UNW have helped safeguard 10 jobs and the treatment of thousands of patients after helping a Sunderland dental practice, trading under the threat of a compulsory purchase order for the last decade, change hands and move sites.

Experts in UNW’s Dental Business Unit advised three ambitious North-East dentists on the “extremely complex” acquisition of Wessington Way Dental Practice in Sunderland, which was based on a site earmarked for Sunderland’s new £100m-plus bridge over the River Wear.

The team celebrated brokering the highly complicated deal, which would normally take around nine months, for new owners Iain Morrison, Paul Shenfine and Nigel Suggett, as it was formally opened by Sunderland Mayor, Councillor Stuart Porthouse.

The speedy transaction included obtaining planning permission and getting a lease agreed for the new healthcare facility located just 50 yards away on Hylton Park Road, as well as obtaining the green light from the dental industry regulators and the NHS plus coordinating the build contracts in just 10 weeks.

The deal will come as a relief for the 1,000-plus patients who had previously submitted a petition to Sunderland City Council over the fate of the popular dental practice and retiring former owner Martin Anderson, who has seen his long established practice taken on by the next generation of dentists keen to look after and grow the existing patient base.

UNW Dental Business Unit partner Alan Suggett said:  “It’s fair to say this is the most difficult deal I have brokered in my life but it came off.

“There were so many issues at play here, not least the timing of it all and the shadow of compulsory purchase over our heads, which made this an extremely complex purchase and relocation deal to pull off.

“But everybody involved from Sunderland City Council to the Care Quality Commission, NHS England, the lawyers and the new landlord and builder worked really, really hard to make this happen, and bring it over the line in incredibly tight time scales.”

Hayley Robertson of the UNW Dental Business Unit tax team added: “I know all three of these dentists independently, and it’s nice to think that after UNW introduced them to each other that they have gone on to co-own Wessingtron Dental, as well as continuing to trade in each of their own practices”.

The trio, who each own other dental practices in the region, are now looking forward to welcoming existing and new private patients for check-ups and advanced cosmetic dentistry work including dental implants, used to replace missing teeth, teeth whitening and teeth straightening.

Iain Morrison is the owner of Newgate Dental Solutions in Morpeth, where his digital marketing skills have seen him double turnover in just 12 months and carry out cosmetic dental work for the cast of hit MTV show Geordie Shore.

Paul Shenfine, one of the country’s leading cosmetic dentists who has trained all over the work, owns Darras Dental in Darras Hall, Ponteland.

While Nigel Suggett is the owner of Seaham Smiles in Seaham, County Durham, a mainly NHS practice, which also offers dental implants and other private treatments.

Co-owner Iain Morrison said: “We are delighted to have secured this new site and finally open the doors after what has been a series of complex negotiations.

“All the materials and equipment in here are the best money can buy and this new practice in the RTC North building has been custom built to meet all of the latest sterilisation regulations.

“We currently have 2,500 patients and hope that by bringing cutting edge dental techniques to Sunderland and by making ourselves accessible with late night and weekend opening and good parking that we will grow this patient base.”

Picture caption:The Right Worshipful the Mayor, Councillor Stuart Porthouse and the Mayoress, Mrs Marie Porthouse with Wessington Dental directors (left to right) Nigel Suggett, Iain Morrison and Paul Shenfine together with Hayley Robertson of UNW.

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