Defunct zoo park could be revitalised

Fife Animal Park closed in February 2014

Fife Animal Park closed in February 2014

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A once-popular visitor attraction in north east Fife that closed amid shocking circumstances could be set to enjoy a new lease of life.

Fife Animal Park near Collessie, which was shut down when its former owner was convicted of a string of charges of animal neglect, was taken over earlier this year.

Now Fife Council is being asked to approve a pre-application assessment of the park with a view to turning it into a family camping and caravan site with associated farm shop, restaurant, fun inflatable room and petting farm with small animals such as goats, rabbits and guinea pigs.

The application has been lodged by David Morby, proprietor of the Tormaukin Hotel near Glendevon.

Mr Morby is believed to have bought the 10-acre park earlier this year for around £400,000.

If his screening application is rubber-stamped by the local authority’ s planning officials, he will then have to lodge a ‘proposal of application’ (PAN) notice and carry out a consultation on his plans before a full application for planning permission can be lodged.

Fife Animal Park was a popular family attraction for years but following concerns about the welfare of its animals it was shut down last February.

Its co-owner, Peter Lockhart, later admitted charges of neglect and was fined £2000 and banned from keeping animals for five years.

The park had housed 76 species, including a zebra, Shetland ponies, meerkats, raccoons and owls, all of which were re-homed.

Amongst them was an emu, nicknamed Forest, who was in poor health due to its living conditions and inadequate diet - but who has gone on to become a star attraction at his new home at Birdworld in Surrey.

In April 2006, an application to convert the animal park into a holiday park with almost 30 chalets was refused and an appeal subsequently dismissed by a Scottish Government Reporter.