Grasslands Africa zone Chester Zoo p. Chester Zoo

Chester Zoo's Heart of Africa project is currently in development. Credit: via Chester Zoo

Chester Zoo aims to swap restaurant for education centre

The popular visitor attraction and conservation charity, located off Caughall Road in Upton, is seeking to revise approved plans for its Heart of Africa development.

Cheshire West and Chester Council has received the proposals, which also include a lift tower to a roof terrace, two open sided external canopies on the first floor, and fencing.

A project to showcase habitats from bush land to rich plains, the Heart of Africa will house rare and endangered species, including giraffes, zebras, antelopes, and ostriches.

Approval was granted for the scheme in 2019 and it is currently being developed, but an education centre is deemed to be more in line with the zoo’s longer-term strategy according to the planning statement produced by Cassidy + Ashton.

The single storey building proposed is a reduction on the approved two-storey restaurant in footprint, scale, and massing. It will have a viewing platform, and include education rooms.

Conservationists are hopeful people will be able to enjoy close-up experiences with species ranging from cranes, vultures, and aardvarks to warthogs.

The proposed centre will be key to these plans, providing a dedicated space for educational activities, overlooking the small animals enclosure and mixed species habitat, to include the zoo’s giraffe herd.

As well as Cassidy + Ashton, the project team includes Gillespies, Buttress, and McPhillips (Wellington).

To view the plans, search for reference number 24/00951/FUL on Cheshire West and Chester Council’s planning portal.

You can view the original plans by searching for reference number 19/01067/FUL on the same portal.

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