Bay MP says ‘zoo must be saved’

Torbay MP Kevin Foster (left) and Paignton Zoo boss Simon Tonge take a look at the giraffes

Torbay MP Kevin Foster (left) and Paignton Zoo boss Simon Tonge take a look at the giraffes - Credit: Archant

MP Kevin's fact-finding tour includes a visit to the animals and a plea to back the Save Our Zoo campaign

Torbay MP Kevin Foster (right) raises a glass to re-opening with Babbacombe Inn boss Martyn Strange

Torbay MP Kevin Foster (right) raises a glass to re-opening with Babbacombe Inn boss Martyn Strange - Credit: Archant

Torbay MP Kevin Foster has appealed to the public to back the Save Our Zoo campaign.

He included the zoo on a weekend fact-finding tour of Torbay tourism and hospitality businesses who had re-opened their doors to guests on so-called Independence Day after more than three months of Lockdown.

Mr Foster said: 'For decades Paignton Zoo has been educating and entertaining generations of visitors, giving a chance to see up close the animals whose future may rest on the conservation work being undertaken by the experts based there.

'It is not just another attraction which might be replaced in future, but a modern-day Noah's Ark for some species.

Save Paignton Zoo

Save Paignton Zoo - Credit: Archant

'It only takes residents to do two simple things, plan a visit there this summer and donate what you can to the appeals to support it. Don't wait until it is too late.'

The MP spent two busy days visiting businesses including the Model Village, Babbacombe Inn, The Downs Guest House, Seamus O'Donnell Pub, Harbour Amusements, the Palace Hotel (Paignton), Beverley Holidays and the Harbour Lights Pub.

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'It was great to see so many businesses re-opening with measures in place to keep staff, customers and our community safe,' he said

'Predictions of a rush to the pub did not materialise and propping up the bar might have been replaced by an app and table service, but all the essential elements of a fantastic holiday here in the English Riviera remain.

'As residents we can play our part as well, by following the guidelines and supporting the many businesses and attractions who have faced a challenging time.'

Carolyn Custerson, chief executive of the English Riviera BID Company, said: 'It was fantastic to see so many of our businesses re-opening and to see the commitment being made to ensure they are safe to welcome back visitors again with a big smile.

'Listening to everyone's journey over the past three months highlighted how incredibly resilient so many of our local businesses are but at the same time highlighted the huge challenge ahead and the need for all of us as locals to show our support and visit our businesses this summer.'