FORMER TOLMAN OWNERS SUFFER SETBACK AT NEW PUB
Former Tolman Cafe owner Adam Smith has fallen foul of the local council in his new home after setting up a temporary animal sanctuary in a pub car park.
Adam closed Tolman Cafe and Animal Kingdom earlier this year after the Duchy told him to remove his 40-plus animals, which include meerkats and monkeys. He had also apparently failed to seek planning permission for some aspects of the new attraction.
He and partner Gareth Davies have since spent £40,000 refurbishing a pub in Pershore in Worcestershire and have been temporarily housing their animals in the car park since September while a permanent home is found for them.
Inspectors had previously viewed the site but Wychavon District Council have now rejected a six-month change of use application because the reduced parking is a considered a highway safety risk.
Adam, who described the reason for refusal as "petty" as there is parking space nearby, is quoted by the Worcester News website as saying: "The council and residents want a community pub, and everybody has said how amazing it is. But all we asked for in return was a little bit of respite, a bit of patience while we look for a new site for the animals.
"We had always said we were not trying to build a zoo in the car park. We wanted to keep a few animals here as an attraction, something different to help the pub - when pubs closures are happening all the time.
"There is no noise, no smell from the animals. The only reason they could find to stop it, is that it is on a pub car park with eight spaces.
"If we can't find a new home for the animals, they could be put to sleep. If it comes to closing the pub to save the animals, that is what we will do."
The animals, which also include raccoons, squirrels and exotic birds, have all been kept in timber enclosures in the car park.