AN artist impression of the new ‘walk-through safari park’ in Redditch has been released by project director Martin Blyth.
It shows winding paths offering spacious paddocks for threatened species such as endangered zebra, ostrich and African lions.
Martin has sold his house and left his job in education management to realise his dream of creating the park, earmarked for near Forge Mill, with the plans now being finalised before presentation to Redditch Borough Council.
He hopes to raise an additional £150,000 by allowing fellow animal lovers and zoo enthusiasts to join an online community which will help shape the future of the zoo.
Since launching the Crowd Funder initiative in August, the project has already received public and corporate pledges in excess of £44,000.
“I’ve been looking for a site nationally for the last three years, but since late March we’ve been working on plans to build Heart of England Wildlife Park in Redditch,” said Martin.
“Our preferred site is in at Forge Mill.
“The proposed site is close to the nationally significant Bordesley Abbey ruins and we are keen to work with Historic England to ensure that Heart of England Wildlife Park can play a significant role in safeguarding the monument for future generations.”
In addition to working towards safeguarding endangered wildlife species, supporters will have the opportunity to vote on key decisions relating to the animals which will be exhibited, and which conservation projects are supported in the wild.
Plans for a zoo at the Forge Mill site had previously been developed in the 1960s as part of the Abbey Park master plan.
In the event that Historic England does not permit development two contingency sites have been identified in the area as possible alternatives.
The first stage of the park could open as soon as Easter 2021 – subject to planning approval – and it’s estimated it could welcome up to 100,000 visitors in its first 12 months.
To find out more about the zoo and how to become a supporter, visit https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/heart-of-england-wildlife-park or