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Zoo staff work for free to keep Blackbrook in the Staffordshire Moorlands going while a new owner is found

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: March 12, 2014

By Belinda Hargreaves

  • Flamingos at Blackbrook Zoological Park in Winkhill.

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Staff at a Staffordshire Moorlands tourist spot are currently working for free in a bid to help keep the venue going while new owners for the site are sort.

It was announced last Tuesday that Blackbrook Zoological Park, near Leek, had been put into administration and the site was up for sale for in the region of £350,000.

The park, which is home to a variety of birds and animals, has seen a decrease in visitor numbers over the past couple of years, but committed staff have been continuing their work - sometimes with no pay at all.

Mark Gains, who has worked at Blackbrook for almost two years, initially as a volunteer, told the Post & Times: "We have not had a proper pay check since the middle of October. We have had a little bit of cash which has been recorded down.

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"However, we are all very passionate about the park and are lucky in having very understanding families."

Mr Gains, who lives in Uttoxeter and is the site's shop manager, added: "We see the potential in the park and want it to continue and that is why we have carried on regardless.

"We just hope that now that the administrators have come in we get like minded people buying the site to be able to take the park to its next step. It does need reinvesting in but it won't take millions."

The price guide which has been stated for Blackbrook Zoological Park, by agents Hinson Parry & Company, is in the region of £300,000 and £350,000, which includes the site's visitor centre, tea room, facilities, and car park, as well as the 30 acres of land including a range of animal enclosures.

However, the price does not include most of the birds or animals, as most of them are owned by third parties, most of whom would like their birds and animals to remain at Blackbrook.

One of those third parties is Glyn Horsley who owns Scales & Tales which has been housing it's 42 different types of reptiles at Blackbrook for five months.

Mr Horsley is one of a number who would like to see the park run by a consortium of people, some who are wiling to invest into the site themselves. He said: "We are looking for investment to put together a package to buy the zoo.

"We need someone who sees the vision we have to take the park forward to where it should be rather than where it has been sitting."

The current collection of birds and animals at Blackbrook includes: Penguins, Emus, Pink Flamingo's, a Pelican, an Ostrich, Meerkats, Lemurs and Reptiles.

Newcastle Agents Hinson Parry & Company have been instructed to market the Zoo and are currently requesting offers. They can be contacted on 01782 713444.

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