Chester Zoo is set for big changes as new safari lodges are approved

Chester Zoo is set for a major makeover as new safari-style lodges have been approved.

The attraction’s new feature will overlook giraffes grazing on a savannah. As our website Cheshire Live reports, the application has been approved by Cheshire West and Chester Council’s planning department for 51 cottage accommodation.

The new feature will also include a two-storey reception building with bar and restaurant, an orienteering lodge and groundworks to create a lake. Once built, some of the lodges will overlook the lake, while others will overlook a savannah-style enclosure with roaming giraffes.

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Plans include four types of lodges to accommodate between four and six people, most of which are based on traditional African wooden safari lodge designs. Approving the plans, an officer’s report said: “The proposal would include the provision of a welcome building located at the northern end of the site, with the lodges located to the south and around the central lakes.

“The houses would comprise four types of accommodation varying in scale and form. That said, they would be constructed of similar materials, including cedar shingles, wooden shutters and wooden windows, and all benefit from porch features. Some of the units would cantilever over the lakes.”

The development area is in the Green Belt, a buffer designed to protect against urban sprawl. It can only be built if special circumstances are demonstrated, but the report says those requirements have been met. He said: “There are other considerations to be taken into account, such as the contribution the zoo makes to the local economy and the benefits it provides to education and global conservation initiatives.

“Taken together, these considerations are considered to outweigh the damage to the Green Belt and represent very special circumstances.” It added: “In full, subject to the conditions set out below and having regard to the provisions of the development plan and all other material planning considerations, it is recommended that planning permission be granted.”