Above: The park’s visitor centre: built using part of a £175,000 grant from DEFRA via the EU due to its work in conservation and promoting rural tourism

A BIRD AND deer park in Gloucester is under threat of closure if nearby development plans go ahead.

Prinknash Bird and Deer Park is having to appeal for the second time in two years, after the Benedictine Monks who own Prinknash Abbey and land adjacent to the park have submitted a planning application to build a luxury housing development that will use a large percentage of the birdpark’s car park.

Owner of Prinknash Bird and Deer Park Melanie Meigh explained her shock at discovering the previously rejected plans had been submitted for a second time: “Considering I lease the car park from the monks, I was surprised that no one had bothered to tell me about the planning application. The whole thing has been very secretive; there were no signs up in the car park about it.”

Developer Edward Blake Ltd wants to demolish the abandoned Roman Catholic monastery Prinknash Abbey to make way for 10 three-storey luxury houses. If the development is allowed to go ahead, it will have a devastating impact on the birdpark, as Ms Meigh claims it would take away 40 per cent of the car park’s footprint, leaving the park just 150 spaces for the estimated 55,000 visitors next year.

Ms Meigh, who took over the park from her father nine years ago, said: “Our annual footfall has increased from about 6,000 people in 2008 to in excess of 50,000 each year. Thanks to a DEFRA grant for our visitor centre and plans to expand and improve the birdpark further, we are looking at big increases in visitor numbers. However, if we don’t have enough places for visitors to park, they won’t come.”

In addition, Ms Meigh believes that if the planning permission is granted it will have such an impact on her business that she might be forced to close the park. She is appealing for visitors and supporters of the park to email her at: enquiries@thebirdpark.com with their name and address before October 11, so that a list of people who oppose the development can be submitted as part of the appeal against it.

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