Chester Zoo has unveiled plans for its newest attraction, an extensive African savannah habitat featuring giraffes, zebra, ostriches and antelopes, alongside a range of lodges and safari tents for overnight stays.
A planning application has been submitted by landscape architect Gillespies, Darling Associates, BDP and North of England Zoological Society to Cheshire West & Chester Council.
The Grasslands development forms part of the 217-acre Natural Visions Masterplan, which included the £40m Islands development opened in 2016.
According to planning documents Grasslands will be “a landscape-led project that creates an immersive and distinctive environment, with a number of discrete buildings supporting the visitor and wildlife requirements”.
Grasslands is set to include an African Wetlands Aviary with a flock of flamingos and viewing platform, and a large, open African savannah habitat, containing the Rothschild’s giraffe, Grevy’s zebra, ostrich and Roan antelope.
Next to the savannah, the Zoo is planning a Tsavo experience featuring black rhino and painted dogs, and a Rift Valley area where smaller species can be seen among Kopje rocks, including vultures, aardvarks and warthogs.
The project includes a restaurant with views over the savannah, alongside overnight accommodation made up of 28 lodges and 14 tents overlooking a lake, with views of the bachelor giraffe habitat. Darling Associates, formerly Architect CT, designed the overnight accommodation.
To enable the scheme, the existing zebra and antelope indoor habitats and crane outdoor habitats will be removed and rebuilt, as well as the existing monorail.
Subject to planning consent, completion is targeted for 2022.
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