‘Immediate need’ - Plans for new animal enclosure at Knowsley Safari Park

The popular safari park attracts around 600,000 visitors a year.
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Knowsley Safari Park is running out of space to house its animals. Plans have been submitted on behalf of the Earl Derby to create a 29m long “flexible agricultural building” with 30 pens for animals as part of its Africa reserve.

The pens, including external enclosures, would fulfil an “immediate need” for housing that would accommodate animals during the wetter months, with a central location creating a “hub” to increase staff efficiency according to the application.

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The building, if granted permission, would be located close to Park Farm in the Africa Reserve section of the park and include a store room for feed supplies.

The need for the additional hoofstock area emerged after a review of the park’s infrastructure, including a “proactive review of the animal species held within the safari, their welfare needs and the existing facilities provided.”

The site, formerly part of the deer park, currently has no trees and is an ” underutilised” piece of land at the site with “low ecological value.”

Without the new facilities this could “have the potential to impact on the business moving forwards as it could potentially result in the closure of this element of the Safari Drive, impacting revenue, the wider economy and employment” according to the application.

Knowsley Safari Park. Photo: Knowsley Safari Knowsley Safari Park. Photo: Knowsley Safari
Knowsley Safari Park. Photo: Knowsley Safari
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The safari park currently generates over £10m a year according to documents submitted as part of the application, providing dozens of jobs in the local area and other “direct and indirect economic benefits to Knowsley and the Liverpool City Region.”

Opened in 1971, the park, owned by the family estate of the Derby family, historic landowners in the area, attracts around 600,000 visitors a year.

The application is currently open for comments, with a decision expected from the local authority by mid November.