D-day looms for Horncastle wildlife park decision

A lion leaving his enclosure at Wolds Wildlife Park.
A lion leaving his enclosure at Wolds Wildlife Park.

Councillors in Horncastle have revealed more details of why they decided not to comment on a key planning application for a wildlife park in the town.

Local business owner Andrew Riddel is awaiting a decision on permission for three animal enclosures at the wildlife park which is located off Hemingby Lane.

A tiger, two lions and wolves are already housed in enclosures at the site which is ‘home’ to more than 200 animals.

East Lindsey District Council is expected to decide on Mr Riddel’s retrospective application for the enclosures next month (September).

The application was discussed by town councillors at their monthly planning committee meeting last week.

Coun Angela Birchall said she had visited the park during a recent open weekend and was very impressed with facilities and the welfare of the animals, although she admitted she was ‘not an expert.’

Mr Riddel’s plans have sparked objections from housebuilders Larkfleet/Allison Homes, who already have permission for 80 homes on a site adjacent to the wildlife park.

Coun Birchall questioned why Larkfleet/Allison had taken so long to lodge an objection, as they received planning permission for the development three years ago.

She was supported by committee chairman Coun Burbidge who admitted the park had ‘a lot going for it’ and seemed to be supported by many local residents.

However, committee members admitted they were aware of concerns about the wildlife park, particularly in regard to noise, smell and safety.

Coun Burbidge commented that a noise report had been submitted to ELDC but it referred to kennels housing dogs.

He said that was a ‘far cry’ from the animals based at the wildlife park.

Councillors could have supported or objected to the application by the wildlife park.

However, Coun Burbidge pointed out he felt the town council lacked the experience and expertise to make a decision.

He did confirm the town council had sought advice on the fact the enclosures had already been built without permission, and had been told Mr Riddel had not broken any laws.

Coun Burbidge pointed out the town council had offered ‘no comment’ to a previous application regarding enclosures at the park.

His proposal that the town council adopt the same approach on the current amended application received unanimous support.