Barton Willmore was planning consultant

First phase of expansion at Chester Zoo opens

The UK’s largest zoo extension has opened to the public at Chester Zoo,  a project for which Barton Willmore advised on the planning permission.

Phase one of Chester Zoo’s £40 million ‘Islands’ scheme launched on 13 July 13th and is expected to welcome 150,000 visitors in its first year.

'Islands' comprises five different habitats linked by a series of bridges and a ‘Lazy River’ boat trip that enables visitors to explore. Islands hosts habitats and animals from Panay, Papua, Bali, Sumatra, Sumba and Sulawesi, with the project being one of the most ambitious zoo developments in Europe, covering more than 50,000 square metres.

Designed by Berlin-based architect Dan Pearlman and project managed by Turner & Townsend, phase two of Islands will house  ‘Monsoon Forest’, the largest indoor zoo exhibit in the UK, which will be home to Sumatran orangutans, Sulawesi macaques and Sunda Gharial, a type of crocodile.

After running a stakeholder and community engagement programme, Barton Willmore’s team first submitted a planning application to Cheshire West and Chester Council in 2009. Outline planning permission was granted in 2010 and the 'Islands' scheme received full planning permission in 2012.


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