Cumbria

South Lakes Safari Zoo: Owner David Gill seeks new licence

David Gill Image copyright PA
Image caption David Gill has run South Lakes Safari Zoo since 1994

The owner of a zoo refused a licence extension because of concerns over safety and animal welfare is to apply instead, for a new licence.

David Gill has formally indicated he will apply for fresh permission to run South Lakes Safari Zoo in Dalton in Furness, Cumbria, where a keeper was killed by a tiger in 2013.

His current licence expires in January.

In July, inspectors recommended the zoo's licence should not be reissued until new management was in place.

They said Mr Gill, 55, had refused to "implement modern zoo practices" resulting in significant concerns over the safety of staff, the visiting public and the animals.

At the time the zoo's chief executive officer, Karen Brewer, said great strides had been made to improve the zoo.

Image copyright Stephen McClay
Image caption Sarah McClay was mauled to death by a tiger in 2013

The law allows the licence holder six months to start again with an entirely fresh application, but notice of the intention must be given at least two months before the end of this time.

Mr Gill has now submitted a 200-page document on the deadline for doing so.

The inspectors had previously said Mr Gill should have no role in managing and running the zoo he created more than 20 years ago.

He has been working with two consultants on proposals for the zoo's management in the future.

The zoo was fined £297,500 for health and safety breaches when keeper Sarah McClay, 24, was mauled to death by a tiger.

Mr Gill 55, had faced individual charges on the same allegations, but was formally acquitted.

The zoo's collection has grown from 290 animals to more than 1,000 across 50 acres, attracting more than 250,000 visitors and generating £3m a year.

Barrow councillors will make a decision on any new application after a further inspection of the zoo.

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