Manchester Zoo could be coming to Middleton

Date published: 18 February 2020

A multimillion-pound zoo could be coming to Middleton as Rochdale Borough Council has confirmed it is in talks to bring the Manchester Zoo project to the region.

The plans for land around the Hopwood Hall campus were discussed privately at the most recent cabinet meeting on Wednesday 12 February.

Plans for the Manchester Zoo were first announced in 2019, and if approved, it would be the first zoo in Greater Manchester since Belle Vue Zoological Gardens, which closed in 1977.

The project is being developed by Johnpaul Houston, a former assistant head keeper at Blackpool Zoo.

According to reports, Mr Houston managed to secure private funding for the zoo, which is expected to cost at least £8m.

Councillor Allen Brett, leader of Rochdale Borough Council, said: “We can confirm that we are in talks with Manchester Zoo about the opening of a zoo on council land around the Hopwood Hall College campus in Middleton.

“These talks are in their early stages and no decisions have been made as yet regarding the transfer of land.

“We are expecting a public consultation to take place in the summer on the proposals ahead of a planning application before the end of the year.”

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