Banham Zoo project taken to Westminster to fight for political backing

Martin Goymour of Banham Zoo stands with the signs announcing control of the zoo has changed to the

Martin Goymour of Banham Zoo stands with the signs announcing control of the zoo has changed to the Zoological Society of East Anglia. Photograph Simon Parker - Credit: Archant

A bid for a new tropical science discovery centre in Norfolk has been taken to Westminster with hopes of gaining political backing.

The project, co-organised by the University of East Anglia and the Zoological Society of East Anglia, based at Banham Zoo, would create a rainforest ecosystem at the south Norfolk attraction.

Yesterday, bosses behind the bid travelled to Westminster with four other similar projects as part of the New Zoo scheme.

They met South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss, secretary of state at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and Mid-Norfolk MP George Freeman, minister for life science, to outline the plans.

The 'six-figure' Banham Zoo project could include an eyelid-shaped tropical house, filled with Brazilian fauna and flora.

Although the project is in the very early planning stages, it would provide for a variety of plants, birds, fish, reptiles and possibly small primates. Martin Goymour, managing director of the Zoological Society of East Anglia, said: 'The New Zoo initiative will offer visitors a unique experience – visitors will be able to see science in action and learn about how the natural world can help us solve problems and innovate new breakthroughs in biotechnology.'

Ms Truss described the scheme as a 'very exciting initiative'.

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'I think this has the potential to offer significant scientific and educational benefits as well as providing a great visitor experience.

'I have visited Banham Zoo in my constituency and was impressed by the aspirations and knowledge of the staff there.

'If this can be magnified within New Zoo, then there will be much to gain and I look forward to watching this project develop,' she said.

Other partnerships include the University of Edinburgh with the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, the University of Sheffield with Yorkshire Wildlife Park, University of Liverpool with Knowsley Safari Park and Bangor University with the National Zoological Society of Wales.

What do you think of the project? Let us know by writing, with full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.

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