Posted: 27/09/2011 08:27:25 by Nigel Nixon
THE man behind one of Cumbria’s biggest tourist attractions has launched a stinging attack on councillors for blocking his £4 million plan to almost treble its size.

David Gill, who runs the multi -award winning South Lakes Wild Animal Park, at Dalton-in-Furness, has accused Barrow Borough Council of ‘stifling’ entrepreneurial spirit in the Furness area.

He believes his project would – * create 45 new jobs * bring elephants and ‘big cats’ such as jaguars to the park for the first time * improve housing for existing animals * add a children’s farm * revamp visitor facilities, including a large car park and a new steam train to take visitors around the park Mr Gill is frustrated that the council has not ruled on his planning application after a year – although it is minded to reject it.

Now he has asked the Government’s planning inspectorate to intervene and make a decision.

The borough council’s planning committee believes the project would be an over-development of a greenfield site and cause traffic problems for residents of Melton Terrace, off the A590, where the new entrance would be located.

And it says that part of the reason it has taken so long to resolve the matter is because some of the application details were not clear enough.

Mr Gill, 50, who set up the park 17 years ago, said: “I have lived here all my life and these councillors are the most backward-looking people you could come across.

“How a positive project, which would create jobs and bring more people to the area in such desperate economic times as these, could be refused beggars belief.”

He added: “At the moment we have four different car parks and up to 4,000 people a day trying to cross a busy 60mph road to get to the park. With our new plans we could have them all on one piece of land.”

And he warned that the zoo, which is one of Cumbria’s top five visitor attractions, would stagnate if it did not grow.

“In this day and age, if you don’t go forwards you are going backwards.”

The zoo is already home to a variety of animals, including giraffes, rhinos, lions and lemurs and runs two animal conservation charities which aim to protect vulnerable species such as Sumatran tigers.

Mr Gill’s plan has been backed by Cumbria Tourism managing director Ian Stephens, who said: ''The park provides one of many good reasons for visiting the Furness peninsula and has brought important benefits into the area in terms of employment, and tourist expenditure.

“The expansion plans are to be encouraged and have a close fit with the tourism strategy for Cumbria. We're sure that most people will be in favour of bringing increased employment and income to the area and as such we hope that the planning issues can be overcome".

John Millar, chairman of Dalton with Newton Parish Council, which opposed the plans, said councillors were not against expansion or creating jobs but were worried about access.

“We are concerned about traffic flow and the impact this could have on the surrounding rural area,” he said Coun Ann Thomson, chairman of Barrow’s planning committee told the Gazette: “We are not in the business of stifling entrepreneurialism – we wouldn’t dream of doing that.”

She said members had particular concerns that the car park would ‘stand out like a sore thumb’ on the hillside and it was still unclear how it would be masked by landscaping.

Barrow and Furness MP John Woodcock said: “Safety should never be compromised, but I hope these concerns can be resolved to everyone’s satisfaction.

“The wildlife park is one of this area’s big-pull attractions with lots of potential to expand and create more jobs in the years ahead.”

The final decision will be made by secretary of state for local government and communities Eric Pickles following advice from the planning inspectorate.

A ruling is likely to be made next spring.


Tagged with: lakeland, park, south, aniaml


Posted: 26/04/2011 13:17:49 by Nigel Nixon
CONGRATULATIONS to all our Easter Egg hunters.  Once again the Easter Bunny visited the grounds of the Hotel and left 30 eggs hidden away amongst the flower beds.  The Easter egg hunting team, some 15 hunters strong this year made short work of finding all the eggs, including the fantastic golden egg, special congratulations Georgie Madeley,  The bunny also left Easter gifts for all egg hunters.

The bunny will be back next year, rumour has he may even have a special costume for the occasion.

Hope you all had a great Easter and have been enjoying the fine weather.

Is it too late for a William and Kate Scavenger Hunt this Friday?? possibly!!

Till next time enjoy your chocolate and practice your bunny bouncing for next year!!
Tagged with: Easter, Egg, Hunt, Kate, Manor, Rothay, William, and


Posted: 12/04/2011 08:39:20 by Nigel Nixon
Its been a beautiful sunny weekend, and spring is certainly in the air, with summer not far behind we hope.
The leaves are appearing on the trees and there are plenty of lambs in the fields.
The good weather and holidays has brought lots of people to the area and the hotel is pretty full, so lovely to see so many familiar faces and plenty of new guests as well, hopefully to become familiar faces in the future.
We still have some availability for the coming weeks so please give us a call if you fancy a break.


Posted: 06/04/2011 16:04:21 by Anne-Marie O'Neill
Hi folks! Welcome to the new website which I'm sure you'll agree looks great. We hope you'll let us know what you think and whether there is any way you think it can be improved.
Have decided to start afresh with the blog - after all, its all about current news not past history, isn't it? So from now on you can not only follow us on Facebook and Twitter but also in a little more detail here on the blog.
The new bar that was the main 'refurbishment' in January looks absolutely fantastic and fits in so well it looks as though it has always been there, and the new décor brings the lounge bang up-to-date.
Since re-opening at the end of January, we have been really busy which is great, so thanks to all who have stayed with us so far this year - we've enjoyed seeing you.
The Special Interest holidays have been busy too, with a lot of familiar faces but some new ones too. The long-awaited 'on-line booking' system will go live soon - honest! I know its been promised for a long, long time but I can assure you the moment is nearly here - hence the new website.
Keep in touch........


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