Bicton College investigates’ zoo idea

BICTON College is investigating the possibility of opening a zoo at the historic site.

BICTON College is "investigating" the possibility of opening a zoo at the historic site.

It would be the only zoo in East Devon and the first since Exmouth Zoo closed its doors in 1980, following the death of famous zoologist Kenneth Smith, who ran it with his wife.

A spokesman for Bicton College said: "I must stress that we are conducting a purely investigative exercise at this stage.

"We do already hold a licence for dangerous wild animals, as we have lemurs and coatis on site."

If Bicton College decided to go-ahead, it would have to apply to East Devon District Council for a licence, which has to be renewed every four years.

The district council says that, once a licence application had been made, it would "send a vet to inspect where the animals are going to be kept to make sure the conditions, cages and food are suitable".

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The applicant would also be required to advertise any intent two months before the application was filed. The district council would be required to consult residents, police and the fire service.

A spokesman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: "An inspection would be carried out by a secretary of state-appointed inspector who would produce a report of the findings.

"Based on the report and other considerations, the local authority would grant or refuse a licence.

"An annual stock list must be provided along with any updated escape precaution procedures.