Hilltop Nursery plans: Garden centre’s zoo proposals rejected

Hilltop nursery aerial view

Article by Matthew Critchell: Major plans to create a Tropical Wings style zoo at a garden centre have been thrown out by council bosses.

Owners of the former Hilltop Nursery, in Dowsett Lane, Ramsden Heath submitted the exciting plans for a small animal, reptile and bird zoo to the delight of residents.

But after Chelmsford City Council refused the plans, family firm H.E Smith and Son Ltd admitted they are unlikely to revise plans and resubmit them.

Council bosses raised concerns about a lack of details and the impact on green belt land.

Paul Smith, 50, director. said without the zoo it may not be financially possible to run the site as a garden centre. He said:

“It seems Chelmsford City Council was not keen on the idea for the zoo and without some joint venture it will make it very difficult for the garden centre to re-open and be profitable. So I suppose we are now looking for new ideas on how to make the best use of the site which the council won’t scupper. It looks unlikely that we will retry and resubmit the plans as there were too many objections to overcome at this stage, unless someone steps forward with a large donation to push things on again, unfortunately our resources are limited.”

Article by Matthew Critchell, The Echo