A NEW zoo could open in Cheshire by summer 2023.

Animal encounters business Zoo2U applied to Cheshire East Council inMay for permission to use part of the land at Bidlea Dairy near Holmes Chapel as a small zoo and wildlife conservation park.

MP Fiona Bruce has described the development as ‘exciting’ and is backing the plans.

The prosed attraction would have a visitor centre, amenity buildings and animal enclosures.

Zoo2U has outgrown its former premises at Hall Farm in Alsager and hopes to move dairy’s Orchard Farm.

The company has already moved its discovery centre to the Holmes Chapel site.

Melissa Mews, director of Holmes Chapel Zoo and Zoo2U said:”We want Holmes Chapel Zoo to become the pride of the community.

“The zoo will enhance the local area, bring in visitors from all over, and help children and others learn about conservation, the natural world and animals.

“The aim is to have the zoo up and running by summer 2023, subject to planning permission approval.”

Warrington Guardian: Bidlea Dairy and farm shopBidlea Dairy and farm shop (Image: Bidlea Dairy)

The zoo will begin from the existing collection of animals already belonging to Zoo2U, before scaling up to include additional animals.

“The zoo will provide jobs for local people, not just in the caring of animals, but in construction, retail services, and management,” said Melissa.

Work experience placements will also be offered to veterinary medicine students.

As increasing numbers of species face threats from climate change and ecological disasters, the zoo will place an emphasis on the protection and conservation of endangered species, both exotic and native.

They will also carry on the current work of Zoo2U in putting on events and experiences for children, the elderly, and those with special educational needs.

Melissa said: “The zoo promises to be a wonderful local attraction, and will be very popular with families and schools looking for a great day out.”

Fiona Bruce MP said: “This is an exciting development for the local area.

“Not only will the planned Holmes Chapel Zoo provide added interest for residents and visitors from further afield who come to the visitor centre to taste the scrumptious ice cream at Bidlea Dairy, the zoo will also provide and an added education attraction and interest for pupils from schools across my constituency and beyond.

“I am fully supportive of the plans for this zoo and I hope it will be well supported.”

For more details on the plans, search reference 22/1435C on the council's online planning portal.