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Council backing for Chester Zoo expansion

Chester Zoo's plans for a major £225m expansion have been handed a boost after Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWCC) recommended the scheme for approval.

The council's strategic planning committee has submitted its decision - along with 36 conditions - to the secretary of state, who is to have the final decision whether the development can proceed. A new £90m bio-dome - called the Heart of Africa - is at the heart of the proposals, which will be themed on an African rainforest and will include connected domes housing a water ride and dining facilities.

Locum Consulting was responsible for drawing up the business plan for the project, which will also boast a 150-bedroom hotel; underwater exhibits; new animal paddocks; and a revamped main entrance. London-based architects Proctor and Matthews will design the bio-dome with the assistance of Faber Maunsell. Turner and Townsend will also be involved with the dome element.

CWCC's Stuart Parker said: "We must see the bigger picture here as this is going to be fantastic for Chester and the bigger sub-region. It certainly outweighs negative factors." Later phases - part of a 14-year masterplan for the zoo - will include the creation of themed zones, such as African Savannah; Asian Plains; and Islands and Water, along with a Cheshire Village zone.

Professor Gordon McGregor Reid, director general of Chester Zoo, said: "The result is the culmination of years of planning, preparation and public consultation and represents a huge milestone for the zoo. "We will continue to work with the relevant bodies and neighbouring communities throughout the remainder of this process and would thank everyone involved for their support to date."

Chester Zoo's plans for a major £225m expansion have been handed a boost after Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWCC) recommended the scheme for approval. The council's strategic planning committee has submitted its decision - along with 36 conditions - to the secretary of state, who is to have the final decision whether the development can proceed. A new £90m bio-dome - called the Heart of Africa - is at
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