'This can be a vibrant place again' - New owner vows to make changes at controversial petting zoo
PUBLISHED: 08:11 15 January 2019 | UPDATED: 11:56 15 January 2019
The new owner of a controversial petting zoo has pledged to spend £250,000 on improving conditions - six months after campaigners called for wholesale changes.
Scott Petty, who already runs the Leisure Island Fun Park in Canvey Island, has asked for patience from members of the public after purchasing Pets Corner Farm Park in Oulton Broad.
Concerns were raised in July and more than 2,000 people signed an online petition campaigning for improvements, highlighting a lack of “basic cleanliness and housing requirements for the animals”.
But following an inspection, Waveney District Council said it was satisfied there were no animal welfare issues requiring action.
Having officially taken the reins last week, Mr Petty has started afresh by rebranding the park as Oulton Broad Mini Zoo and emphasised his desire to restore it to its former glory.
“The opportunity came completely out of the blue,” said Mr Petty, 52. “We came to have a look and decided we simply had to buy into the potential of this place.
“We’ve had a good look around Oulton Broad and it’s a fantastic area for the zoo to be based. This can be a vibrant place again - if we didn’t think that, we wouldn’t be spending the money.
“The investment is going to be quite heavy but we don’t mind that because, to be honest, we don’t see this as a gamble.”
Among the new owner’s priorities is to completely revamp the park, as well as introduce a reasonably priced season ticket to attract customers all year round.
Mr Petty is also keen to split the park into zones, giving the public a better experience and allowing members of staff to enhance their specialist knowledge.
“Splitting the zoo into four zones will allow each staff member to get to know the animals and assess whether there are any problems,” added Mr Petty.
“The key now is for people to have patience with us. We’ve got a team of staff here all the time at the moment, so I’d really like to open within the next couple of weeks.
We’ve got nothing to hide so I don’t mind people coming in and talking to us, seeing what we’re doing and hearing what our plans are. We’re always open to new ideas.”