Allestree Park petting zoo to become latest victim of council cuts
A MUCH-LOVED petting zoo which campaigners fought to save in 2008 is facing the chop once more after 30 years of entertaining families.
Derby City Council wants to close Allestree Park pets' corner in February or March to save £25,000 from its 2013/14 budget.
The closure would leave the attraction's 20 chickens and 10 rabbits needing a new home.
The Friends of Allestree Park, which helps the council to look after the park, fought to keep the attraction open when it was last threatened.
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In 2008, a 3,000-name petition was put together against the move.
But this time the organisation has said it is resigned to the closure.
The city council says it must make savings of £62.4m over the next three years because of reductions to its grant from the Government, inflation and Derby's growing population.
Friends secretary Peter Grundy said it was "very sad".
He said: "The quality of care for the animals and number of animals has been dropping. It's been running down for a while now.
"We don't feel we can save the pets' corner this time."
Mr Grundy said the attraction used to be a lot larger when the city council could afford a ranger to come and feed the animals each day.
He said: "It's one of the few attractions Allestree Park has now and children still enjoy it."
A city council spokeswoman said that the pets' corner animals would all be relocated.
She said: "We already have an option for the chickens but we could consider public adoption of rabbits.
"Subject to the budget decision being confirmed, we would begin to make arrangements and intend to close in February or March."
In 2008, the city council proposed closing the attraction to save £5,000 a year on maintenance and ranger costs.
In the end, cash was found in the authority's parks budget to keep the attraction open.
Joseph Newsum, of Osmaston Park Road, was nine last time the petting zoo was threatened with closure. Now 13, he still enjoys visiting the attraction.
He said: "I think it is so unfair that children won't be able to go and see the animals any more. They should keep it open – and get some more animals."