HC Deb 24 May 1966 vol 729 cc267-8
11. Mr. Lipton

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government what action he will take arising from the fact that a lion reserve has been set up at Longleat, Wiltshire, without the requisite planning permission having been obtained.

Mr. MacColl

I am told that when planning permission was given for the main fence, it was known that lions were to be kept within it and that the county council had paid careful attention to the safety aspects. My right hon. Friend does not propose to take any action.

Mr. Lipton

Is it not quite ridiculous that whereas planning permission, or a licence, or a permit, is sometimes required for the most trivial changes of use and alterations, it is possible for someone to come along and fill acres of English countryside with wild animals which might be a danger to the neighbourhood, without any kind of check or control? Is it not time that local authorities were given—[Interruption.]

Mr. Speaker

Order. This is getting too long, even for lions.

Mr. Lipton

Should not local authorities be given some kind of power to change the conditions under which wild animals are kept in their areas?

Mr. MacColl

The council has the power, and it was for the council to decide whether or not planning permission was required. The council considered the matter and decided that planning permission was not necessary.

Mr. Awdry

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that these lions have given a great deal of pleasure to many visitors to Longleat?