The Living Coasts site- Credit: Submitted

Two in running to take over Living Coasts site

Two mystery contenders are now in the running to take over Torquay's landmark former Living Coasts site.

Jim Parker

Two mystery contenders are now in the running to take over Torquay's landmark former Living Coasts site.

Torbay Council officers are supporting the Wild Planet Trust to secure a new sub-tenant for the former marine aviary.

A tender process, led by the Trust has identified two parties as potential future users of the site.  
Upon completion of the commercially sensitive discussions which are expected to conclude during late spring, a formal announcement on the new tenant for the site will be made.  
The trust, which also runs Paignton and Newquay zoos, took over the former Coral Island site on a 125-year lease basis and opened to visitors in 2003.

Living Coasts was home to a variety of seabirds, other coastal wildlife and the much-loved penguins and fur seals.
In June 2020, the trust made the difficult decision to close Living Coasts, after nearly 20 years of operation. The decision was due to falling visitor numbers, the economic impact of coronavirus and substantial maintenance costs. Following the closure, all the animals housed there were successfully rehomed.
Swithin Long, cabinet member for economic regeneration, tourism and housing, said: “Like many in our communities we were saddened with the demise of Living Coasts. Since the summer of 2020 we have been working with the Wild Planet Trust, helping them to find a long-term solution for the site.  
“We will continue to work closely with and support the trust through the process of appointing a new sub-tenant.”
Helen Warren, chief operating officer of Paignton Zoo, said: “Although Living Coasts has closed, the site was an iconic feature of the Torquay harbourside for nearly two decades and played a hugely important role in allowing us to raise awareness of marine life and coastal conservation. Paignton Zoo and Wild Planet Trust have been part of the Torbay community for almost 100 years, and we’re excited to see what the future will bring for a site that will always hold a very special place in our heart.”