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Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Anger at zoo appeal move

COUNCILLORS voiced their anger that a decision over the proposed extension of Dalton zoo has been taken out of their hands.

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EXPANSION BID: David Gill pictured at the South Lakes Wild Animal Park

Members of Barrow Borough Council’s planning committee spoke out over an appeal lodged by South Lakes Animal Park boss David Gill at a meeting at Barrow Town Hall yesterday.

Mr Gill appealed to the Planning Inspectorate due to the delay in a decision being made over a proposed extension. This means the decision over whether to give plans the go-ahead will now be made by the government.

In July, Barrow Borough Council’s planning committee members said they were minded to refuse plans to expand the Dalton zoo by nine hectares. The committee had been due to issue a final decision on whether or not to reject the plans.

But Mr Gill appealed on the basis of non-determination, as he was unhappy that the council failed to issue a decision within an eight-week timescale.

But councillors blamed the delay on ‘sketchy’ plans.

Councillor Ernie Wilson said: “I think the information Mr Gill provided us with was very sketchy and I am dissatisfied this has been taken out of the hands of the local democracy. It is a democratic process.

“This will be decided by a bunch of unelected officials who don’t know about the area. It makes a joke of democracy.”

The committee then agreed a recommendation put forward to refuse the proposal with a 10 to two vote, which will be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate telling the national body how it would have dealt with the application.

The recommendation cited the visually detrimental intrusion into open countryside as the main reason the committee would have been minded to refuse it.

Councillor Gordon Murray said: “I want it recorded that I have serious safety concerns for the proposed new access. The proposed route on Broughton Road has several points where two cars cannot pass at the same time.”

Jason Hipkiss, a planning officer at the council, told the meeting the committee should steer clear of citing technical issues as reasons they would have been minded to refuse the proposal, as highways said they were satisfied the route could be made safe.

He said: “We cannot raise issues we have no defence against. They have got to be backed up, if not it could potentially cost us.”

The Planning Inspectorate will then return a final decision on the development, which will be issued within 26 weeks, but it could be delivered sooner as the average time for such an appeal to be decided is currently 17 weeks.

Have your say

Come on Barrow council,give mr gill a helping hand for a change,cant you see it benefits Barrow as well.I know for a fact there are plenty of people visit Barrow in conjunction with the wildlife park and spend money.

Posted by Dan on 29 September 2011 at 13:28

I don't blame Dave Gill barrow council don't seem to care that his park brings much needed money to the area yet they stop him at every thing he tries to do .other places that have this type of attraction do more to try to keep it in the area ,good luck with your appeal

Posted by js on 28 September 2011 at 08:45

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