“WE’RE not giving up on Redditch!” – that’s the message from Martin Blythe whose dream of having a wildlife park at Forge Mill has been torpedoed by Historic England.
“All the feedback we’ve had – people want it, they want somewhere to visit, for their children, to pull in tourists. Redditch is my home town and I’m not prepared to just turn my back on it,” added Martin.
He said he was now looking at alternative sites close to, if not actually in Redditch.
“We’re talking about something that may not be in Redditch, but has a Redditch address – for instance, the new Amazon warehouse is technically in Bromsgrove but as we all know is in fact in Redditch,” he said.
And he is appealing to local people to come forward with their suggestions and ideas of possible locations for the park.
“Redditch is to a degree landlocked and we’re up against some major developers so the prices of freehold land is astronomical and would blow out budget, so we’re looking at leasehold or cut price freehold,” said Martin.
The Heart of Wildlife Park would have seen wild animals roaming the fields around Forge Mill, viewed from a walkway for visitors.
However despite altering their designs to appease Historic England, the body said the proposals would be incompatible with the protection and preservation of the ancient monument.
Martin said two contingency sites in the Redditch area had already been identified but he was appealing for more suggestions and offers of help from landowners.
“It is evident that the overwhelming majority of residents want to see the park become a reality and I’m committed to getting the gates open at the earliest opportunity,” he said.
Suggestions can be sent to Heart of England Wildlife Park via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org