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Norfolk safari park recommended for planning approval

PUBLISHED: 10:11 23 November 2018 | UPDATED: 14:58 23 November 2018

Edward Pope, who has bee given permission to convert quarry workings into a safari park Picture: Ian Burt

Edward Pope, who has bee given permission to convert quarry workings into a safari park Picture: Ian Burt

Plans for a safari park in west Norfolk are being recommended for approval.

Proposals to fence in a former quarry at Tottenhill, near King’s Lynn, and turn it into a wildlife reserve, are due to be discussed by the Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk.

Owner Edward Pope hopes to introduce animals and birds including markhor, zebra, buck, ibex, wildebeest great bustards and flamingos to the site, beside the A10.

A report to councillors, which recommends the plan is approved, says: “The applicant, Mr Pope, has spent a considerable amount of his time carrying out conservation projects globally.

“He is passionate about the conservation of endangered animals and birds and has for several years provided a refuge and breeding programme for deer and antelope.

“Now he wants to build on that work by expanding this refuge to create an inspirational centre for education, visitor experiences that people can enjoy, and a site for extraordinary wildlife encounters.”

Visitors would tour the site in four-seater electric buggies. A reception area would be housed in a caravan.

The planning report adds: “Mr Pope has spent a considerable amount of his time carrying out conservation projects globally. This has led to him to develop a breeding programme to protect endangered species, many of which are already extinct in the wild.

“A number of such animals, including 55 water buffalo and over 200 deer and antelope currently reside on land around Watlington including at Mr Pope’s home.”

No objections have been received from the Environment Agency, Natural England or Norfolk Wildlife Trust.

Ward councillor Peter Hodson wrote in support: “I believe this is an exciting opportunity to provide a unique educational resource for the local community and in time make a meaningful contribution to the tourism and visitor economy in west Norfolk and King’s Lynn.”

Nineteen letters of objection have also been received, raising concerns including increased traffic on the A10 and surrounding roads, and loss of arable land.

Councillors will make a site visit before they discuss the application on Monday, December 3.

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