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Manchester Zoo in advanced talks with Rochdale Council

manchester zoo

The company behind the multimillion-pound Manchester Zoo project is in advanced talks with Rochdale Council to develop 100 acres of land near Hopwood Hall College.

According to Place North West, Manchester Zoo and Rochdale Council are in advanced talks on a land deal. The agreement was discussed at the council’s cabinet.

Former zookeeper Johnpaul Houston is helming the project, which was previously set to be located around Trafford.

The Manchester Zoo company was set up by Houston, who was formerly assistant head keeper at Blackpool Zoo, in 2017.

Planning application expected later in 2020

Rochdale Council has confirmed that it will hold a public consultation, with a planning application expected later in 2020.

Houston has reportedly lined up funding for Manchester Zoo. The project’s planner is Barton Willmore, which has experience on expansion projects at Chester Zoo.

According to the website, Manchester Zoo is “focused on creating an immersive experience, pairing incredible animal habitats with exciting new technology”.

“We will support important conservation projects and conduct research to benefit animals both at home and abroad,” the website reads.

Manchester Zoo will be an immersive experience

Coun Allen Brett, leader of Rochdale Council, said (via Manchester Evening News): “We can confirm that we are in talks with Manchester Zoo about the opening of a zoo on council land around the Hopwood Hall College campus in Middleton.

“These talks are in their early stages and no decisions have been made as yet regarding the transfer of land.

“We are expecting a public consultation to take place in the summer on the proposals ahead of a planning application before the end of the year.”

Elsewhere, Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium & Safari Park has announced the grand opening of its five-acre Safari Park expansion, which features two endangered pygmy hippos.

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Bea Mitchell

Bea is a journalist specialising in entertainment, attractions and tech with 10 years' experience. She has written and edited for publications including CNET, BuzzFeed, Digital Spy, Evening Standard and BBC. Bea graduated from King's College London and has an MA in journalism.

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