No development funding for Chester Zoo

A company that provides money for major developments in the North West wont be giving any cash to Chester Zoo for their new bio-dome project.

The Zoo was hoping for £40m from the North West Development Agency but that wont happen after the organisation was told to make savings by the Government.

Despite the setback, Chester Zoo still plan to push ahead with their £225m "Natural Vision" project which will, among other things, recreate an African Rainforest.

A planning application has already been handed to Cheshire West and Chester Council.

Simon Mann, Development Director for Chester Zoo, said:

"From the very outset of this project, the zoo has explored various different income streams for Natural Vision and this work will continue – the project is two to three years away from construction so it is still exciting and viable.

"The Natural Vision project would bring great economic benefits to the region and bring a welcome boost for the tourism industry - tourism is a key strand of the Coalition’s manifesto."

Steven Broomhead, Chief Executive of the Northwest Regional Development Agency said: 

"We are facing a challenging situation as we have to save £52 million from this year's NWDA budget. 

"We have made a start by cutting non-contracted projects and reducing our own administration budget but we now need to re-examine all existing projects and programmes to identify where further savings can be made. 

"We are now involved in very careful and sensitive discussions with our partners about this. 

"We will use all available flexibility to try to meet these challenging reductions but the reality is that this is a substantial reduction to our in-year budget and there is bound to be an economic impact on the partners, businesses and communities with whom we work."