Chester Zoo plans approved by council

Plans for a huge expansion at Chester Zoo to include an African Biodome are a step closer after the Council approved the plans.

The £225 million expansion will create new jobs and bring more tourists to the area according to Cheshire West and Chester Council.

The idea was approved by nine votes to two at a meeting in Thursday evening.

Now the plans will be looked at by the Secretary of State because the plans will mean building on Green Belt land.

There are 36 conditions which the developers will have to adhere to if it gets the final go-ahead.

Councillor Stuart Parker said:

"I can imagine that the design of the Biodome would blend in and become 'cloud - like' from a distance, more so than any of the pylons blotting the landscape.

"We must see the bigger picture here as this is going to be fantastic for Chester and the bigger sub region. It certainly outweighs negative factors."

Not everyone supported the proposals.

Committee member and Upton Councillor Hilarie McNae put forward the views of residents and said:

"Travelling along the A41 between Backford and Upton and looking towards the north - that is, towards the land owned by the Zoo - you currently have the feeling of being in the open rural countryside - in other words the Green Belt is working.

"The proposed construction of a roadside hotel will puncture this feeling of countryside and many residents believe firmly that this part of the application cannot be justified."

Councillor Brian Crowe told the meeting:

"I'm broadly supportive of the proposals but I am concerned about Badgers Walk residents who will be dwarfed and overlooked by the Biodome.

"There needs to be a suitable degree of screening there and even if the project isn't started immediately a whole growing season will be lost.

"A local forum should be established involving residents from Badgers Walk, the Zoo and a local member to facilitate a good neighbours scheme."