Two zoos to be transferred to charitable trust in February
The owner of two East Anglian zoos is hoping to complete the transfer them into the hands of a charitable trust by February 1, providing bank clearance can be confirmed.
Martin Goymour had hoped to confirm the establishment of the Zoological Society of East Anglia (ZSEA), comprising Banham Zoo and Africa Alive, near Lowestoft on New Year's Day, but the announcement has been delayed by the need to secure bank approval for the transfer with the new charity effectively being a new company.
Mr Goymour said due to the economic downturn the bank was being 'particularly fastidious' in carrying out checks before agreeing to the transfer.
However, he added there was a positive to come from the delay which was that the company had more time to plan for changes to staff contracts and deal with the paperwork which went with the asset transfer.
The zoos have also secured permission from the Charity Commission for the move, which was confirmed on December 13.
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Mr Goymour said the ZSEA could have up to nine trustees, with three already appointed and another three expected to join them once the establishment of the charity has been completed.
The trustees are expected to be independent of the zoos, but to have an understanding of the importance of zoos and they will have a similar role to school governors.
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In November, Mr Goymour said there would be no job losses amongst the 150 staff and visitors should benefit from cheaper admission prices under the charitable trust, which would operate the zoos under a 99-year lease.
He added that there had been a positive response from staff and visitors after the plans were announced last month and six trustees had been lined up to sit on the ZSEA board.
The zoos have 7,000 season ticket holders.