Public votes 90% in favour of Chester Zoo’s £225m plans

Michael Hunt

Around 90% of residents from Ellesmere Port and Chester responding to questionnaires over Chester Zoo's £225m Natural Vision project have backed the scheme.

Members of the public completed questionnaires at consultation meetings held at the zoo, Cheshire Oaks shopping complex, and in Chester city centre.

The £225m project, known as Natural Vision, will involve a £90m first phase which will include the domed ecosystem called 'Heart of Africa'.

The bio-dome will be an African rainforest-themed sanctuary for a band of Gorillas, a large troop of chimpanzees, rare giraffe-like creatures known as Okapi, and a wide variety of tropical birds, amphibians, reptiles, fishes and invertebrates, moving freely among lush vegetation.

Planning for the first phase will be sought later this year and also includes a conservation college, as well as a revamped main entrance linking to a marina development on zoo land beside the Shropshire Union Canal.

The project is the culmination of years of planning and design and is being carried out in conjunction with a number of agencies, including North West Development Agency which has provided funding to enable the project to progress to the planning stage.

The zoo currently occupies 50 hectares of land but owns a further 200. The completed Natural Vision project will cover 80 hectares including new access roads and parking.

The Natural Vision project is expected to be completed by 2018.

Hill Dickinson has been appointed as the sole legal advisor for Natural Vision.

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