More than 1,700 people sign Willow Tree Farm petition

David Anthony chairman  and trustee at Willow Tree Farm.''Tom Maddick / Rossparry.co.uk
David Anthony chairman and trustee at Willow Tree Farm.''Tom Maddick / Rossparry.co.uk

A farm and outdoor activity centre in Shirebrook is stepping up its campaign to be allowed to use a former school playing field so it can become a licensed zoo.

Willow Tree Family Farm has more than 1,700 signatures on a petition asking Shirebrook Town Council and Derbyshire County Council to grant it a lease to develop the former Langwith Road Playing Field,

The charity has sent letters to Derbyshire County Council urging them not to change the use of the land so they can sell it and make a profit.

Now chairman and trustee David Anthony is urging people to sign a further petition on Derbyshire County Council’s own website.

David Anthony wants to use the four acre site in an ambitious project to expand its grazing, build a car park and more leisure facilities, including a new children’s play area.

He said: “Derbyshire County Council has acknowledged our request and we need as many people as we can to help us .

“Willow Tree Family Farm is the only thing in Shirebrook for safe family activities.

“We have visitors from all over Nottinghamshire, with more than 60 schools visiting us more than 80 volunteers and nine staff members.

“If we are able to secure the land for community use, because we are a charity we will be able to create five more jobs.”

He said expanding the site would safeguard the future for the farm, create five more jobs and give the animals there a better standard of living.

People have until November 23 to add their signatures to the council petition.

Visit http://www.derbyshire.gov.uk/council/have_your_say/petitions/

Shirebrook Town Council Chairman Stephen Fritchley said he supported Willow Farm’s request in principle and was in correspondence with Derbyshire County Council to clarify what would happen if the town council relinquished its lease on the former playing field site.

A Derbyshire County Council spokesman said: “We haven’t received formal notification from the town council that it wishes to end its lease.

“If we receive this we’ll consider appropriate future uses for the site.”