Decision on zoo plan is delayed

A series of “loose ends” need to be tidied up before final planning permission can be granted for a zoo in Cromer, it has been decided. Final planning permission could have been given yesterday for the Hall Road zoo, which is being put forward by Ken Sims, who runs the established Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens.

A series of “loose ends” need to be tidied up before final planning permission can be granted for a zoo in Cromer, it was decided yesterday.

Final planning permission could have been given yesterday for the Hall Road zoo, which is being put forward by Ken Sims, who runs the established Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens.

But councillors sitting on a North Norfolk District Council planning committee said that despite being behind the plan in general, they had various concerns about some of the detail involved.

The town edge plans were given planning permission in principle at an earlier date, but yesterday's meeting was held to discuss a raft of issues such as design, landscaping and building materials.

A lengthy debate led to a list of concerns, with one of the most significant a suggestion of changing the zoo's planned one-way system. The current plan is for vehicles to enter off Hall Road and exit on to Roughton Road.

But Tracey Khalil, of Cromer Chamber of Trade, suggested reversing this so entry would be on Roughton Road. She said this would keep traffic away from the most congested areas of the town.

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Other concerns included:

t Why raised boardwalks have been removed from the plan.

t The need for additional screening to the fences and the raising of fences to take into account the welfare of hedgehogs.

t Whether a bus service or the existing Cromer road train could be incorporated into a transport plan.

t Whether the car park could be redesigned to be “less regimented” and allied with picnic tables and play area.

t The type of timber to be used in construction and how that timber would be maintained.

t Concern over the design of the plant house, particularly the roof materials.

Candy Sheridan, one of several councillors expressing unease, said: “I like this application but there are too many loose ends.

“For example I love the timber buildings but I am very unhappy about the plant house roof.

“We need to think slightly further ahead and we should make this plan more sustainable. It is a lovely potential tourist attraction.”

The committee agreed to discuss the plans again at a later date once their questions had been addressed.

The plans will also have another hurdle to clear at some point in the future - a separate zoo licensing process.