[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 August 2006, 10:57 GMT 11:57 UK
Campsite to secure future of zoo
Horace the giraffe
The zoo is taking part in a breeding programme for giraffes
The future of a Kent zoo looks more secure after plans for a campsite to allow 20 visitors to sleep among the animals were approved.

Port Lympne, near Hythe, said without the African Experience campsite there was a risk the zoo could close.

"The company is losing money and this is an extra building block towards making it a sustainable business," said managing director Bob O'Connor.

Shepway District Council approved the plans on Tuesday night.

'Balance needs'

They were originally recommended for refusal but members disagreed with the council officers.

"It was a balance between the needs of the zoo park and economy of the area versus the importance of protecting the area of outstanding natural beauty," said director of regulatory services Jeff Stack.

"Officers were aware of the importance of the project to the continuation of the park.

"But it wasn't clear exactly how important the campsite was until the last few hours before the meeting."

Mr O'Connor said the campsite was part of a three-year plan.

In the last two years the zoo has seen an extra 100,000 visitors and employed 100 more staff.


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific