New Norfolk safari park given go-ahead

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

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

A new safari park will let people see 'extraordinary' animals in the heart of the Norfolk countryside.

Edward Pope was today given planning permission to fence and convert former quarry workings off the A10 at Watlington, south of King's Lynn.

Setting out his vision to councillors, Mr Pope said: 'My passion is conservation and endangered species, both in the UK and around the world.'

He said if given the go-ahead, the park would visitors to see 'extraordinary animals' close-up.

They would range from great bustards and flamingos, to wildebeest, ibex, markhor and water buffalo.

Visitors would be taken around in electric buggies on pre-booked tours.

Councillors voted unanimously to allow the park to go ahead, after hearing from officers that the 2.15m fence proposed by Mr Pope would be high enough to prevent animals from escaping.

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Mr Pope said after the meeting: 'It's going to be a very special place for people to come and visit, a quiet, peaceful place.

'This is going in amongst the animals peacefully and admiring them.' He said some of the creatures would be many thousands of miles from their home lands. Some are extinct or endangered in the wild.

Mr Pope added: 'I've been a conservationist all my life, it's been a passion and a love.' A report to councillors said: 'The applicant, 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, in collaboration with a number of zoos and safari parks such as Tierpark in Germany and Woburn Safari Park, Bedford, to protect endangered species, many of which are already extinct in the wild.

'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. This is also a diversification of the Watlington estate which has been in the Pope family for many generations.'

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