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Exotic Zoo could reopen to public with four-acre site boasting restaurant and gift shop in Telford town park

By Rob Smith | Telford | Attractions | Published:

Telford's Exotic Zoo could reopen with a gift shop and restaurant at a new four-acre site in the centre of the town after the popular family attraction announced it would close the public side of its family favourite Priorslee site.

Julie Doughty, Scott Adams and Mel Garton of the Exotic Zoo

Telford & Wrekin Council is working with the zoo on expanding with a new four- or five-acre site off the Dark Lane car park near Wonderland in the town park – subject to planning permission, according to zoo director Scott Adams.

The attraction, which had become a favourite among tourists since opening in 2017, cited logistical issues including car parking concerns as the reasons for closing the public entry part of its original site.

Mr Adams said they will continue to use the Priorslee site for non-profit community work, community education programmes, animal assisted therapy and interventions, and private education sessions but no longer offer public entry as a zoo.

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He hopes that animals will be moved onto a new site at Dark Lane and the public will be allowed onsite.

"It's not going to happen in weeks, it's definitely going to be months," Mr Adams said.

"It will be so good for us."

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He hopes the new public site could be open in time for this year's school summer holidays.

'Blown away'

Mr Adams also said that he was "literally blown away" by the number of public comments showing their support for the Exotic Zoo after its closure to the public was announced on Tuesday evening.

"We had 1,200 messages in the first hour, I was so pleased," he said.

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"Overnight that turned into 1,600.

"I'm not surprised, we have got a really great relationship with the community.

“The zoo’s ethos always aimed to be a local attraction for the benefit of Telford and its community.

"The opportunity to move to a much bigger space with parking and access directly from the town park and Southwater and the chance to work together with the council to provide an affordable destination for the whole family is really exciting.

“We want to retain our current site at Priorslee for our community activities involved in education, animal therapy and interventions and other educational experiences.

"We look forward to developing our role as an attraction within an ever evolving and improving Telford.”

Carolyn Healy, cabinet member for visitor economy and the world heritage site, said “The council is committed to continuing to invest in the town park and subject to planning approval, Exotic Zoo’s proposals would be great addition to the town park for residents and visitors alike.

“The use of this disused site in the park as a community zoo would complement the existing facilities and would encourage visitors to explore more of our wonderful park and provide a destination for the whole family.

"We’re so excited to be involved in supporting the development of this wonderful offer in our town.”

The current proposals for a second Exotic Zoo site in Telford are subject to the respective licensing and planning permissions.

Rob Smith

By Rob Smith
Reporter

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star based at Ketley in Telford.

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