13th March 2024

It has been a long road to get to this point, but the team at Freedom for Animals are ecstatic to report that there will be no new zoo in Trowell, Nottinghamshire!

At 19:40 this evening the Broxtowe Borough Council Planning Committee returned a decision that planning permission would not be granted for the so-called ‘Broxtowe Retreat’. Frequently marketed as a ‘sanctuary’, it doesn’t take much research to discover that this planned development was, in fact, a zoo. This is evidenced by the fact that the developers planned to acquire animals that had been bred for display, build spa facilities and overnight accommodation, and operate as a business (not a charity) that within its own planning statement promised to be designed with guest experience at its core. This would have been a resort for humans, not a sanctuary for animals.

Amongst the reasons for the rejection of this planning proposal, which was refused by a vote of 9 against 2, was the fact that the entire development site would have been built within the Nottingham and Derby Greenbelt, with some of it even covering an area of the Trowell Junction Grasslands Local Wildlife Site. Today’s decision makes it very clear that the local council and residents recognised this proposed development for what it was: an attack on wildlife, not an attempt to conserve it.

The zoo’s planning application was submitted in November 2022, and as soon as we became aware of it, we began work to oppose it. Over the course of over a year we have tirelessly worked, alongside colleagues at other organisations and members of the public, to ensure that the developers’ plans to imprison more animals would not become reality. This has entailed:

  • Encouraging supporters and local residents to submit comments on the planning application through online actions,

  • Attending an open day arranged by the applicants to gain evidence on their claims

  • Creating and promoting a change.org petition which gained 5211 signatures,

  • Publishing leaflets exposing the reality of the proposals, and spending hours on the streets of Broxtowe to spread the word ,

  • Contacting the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums to confirm that the developers (who claimed they would be a part of their programme) were in fact not known to them at all,

  • Contacting council members to make them aware of the ways in which the developers have contravened previous granted planning applications,

  • Personally handing the petition signatures to the planning committee today,

  • And demonstrating outside Broxtowe Town Hall tonight, where we were when we heard the fantastic news!

It remains to be seen what happens next, whether the developers will appeal the decision or even if they will be entitled to do so. However, today’s result remains an enormous victory for Freedom for Animals, our colleagues at Animal Rising and Born Free, and for you, our supporters. 

We would like to take the opportunity to thank every one of you who has given your time to object to the planning proposal or sign the petition, or given your money to support our actions from the office to the streets of Broxtowe. It is thanks to you that no new cages will be constructed, into which innocent animals would have been forced to spend their entire lives just to be part of a tourist attraction. 

Zoos represent a lifetime of misery for those forced to inhabit them, and the fewer cages out there, the fewer ruined lives there can be. Today represents another step away from an archaic society that exploits animals for entertainment.

There is more work to do. Please, support us in our continuing fight to save animals from captivity. Until all are free.