A PLANNING application has been submitted to build new animal enclosures and holiday lodges for guests to stay overnight at West Midland Safari Park.

If approved by Wyre Forest District Council, the plans would involve upgrading animal facilities at the park and erecting on site accommodation for guests, with work set to start as early as October this year.

French owners the Looping Group, who took over the park in December, say their development team has been working on a long-term investment strategy for future development at the site.

Proposals for the first phase of the development were submitted this week, with ambitions for completion in June 2020.

Managing director of the park, Darren Chorley, said: "This exciting new development will see new facilities being built for our African elephants and cheetahs, creating habitats that are as close to the species’ natural environment as possible.

"Working closely with our Wildlife Team, we have ensured that these environments are stimulating and enriching, giving shelter and 24-hour access to both indoor and outdoor spaces.

“Integrated into the new exhibits will be luxury, exclusive lodges, designed to give the occupants an up-close and personal overnight wildlife experience like no other.

"Guests will be able to extend their stay by booking overnight accommodation at one of eight lodges which will sit on the boundaries of the reserves, with views overlooking the elephant and cheetah areas.

"We hope this represents the start of an exciting new future at West Midland Safari Park.”

West Midland Safari Park is home to around 140 species including elephants, rhino, and lions, and attracted around 700,000 visitors to Wyre Forest last year.