Mr Oliver is best known for keeping rescued lions, a Canadian puma and 24 squirrel monkeys in specially-built enclosures in his back garden in Strelley. The African lions, Rock and Rora, were rescued from a circus in Eastern Europe and were joined by their cubs two years ago.
His plans for the sanctuary, named the Broxtowe Retreat, include reserves for rescued endangered animals as well as a tropical-themed spa complete with Rainforest inhabitants and an African water-hole themed restaurant and function venue. Visitors will be able to stay in 27 guest lodges, each with unique views into the expansive animal habitats.
An on-site education centre with qualified teachers would provide ‘out of the classroom’ practical experiences for school children, college and university students, and apprentices. The planned facilities, which have been described as state-of-the-art, would make use of solar panels, heat-pumps, and rainwater capture and recycling, making it one of the first sustainable and carbon neutral visitor facilities in the UK according to its developer.
New ponds, water features, and a tree and hedgerow planting program are also planned. The development would be expected to create more than 60 jobs in hospitality, education, catering, customer service, site maintenance, and animal care, with local skills and suppliers prioritised.
The retreat would be operated by an experienced team of experts to the highest animal welfare standards according to Mr Oliver.
He continued: “With the purchase of the land complete, we have now submitted plans for consideration by the borough council which I am confident will be approved.
“Rescuing animals is something that is very close to my heart, and we intend to create a world class sanctuary for animals and a uniquely special experience for visitors to enjoy.
“From environmentalism and ecology to education and employment, we think this development will really put Broxtowe on the map, and I’m delighted to bring such exciting plans to the local area.”
Chris Wright, director of OMEETO, completed the deal on behalf of the landowners, William May Holdings.
He said: Mr Oliver is an extremely driven and motivated individua with a very admirable cause, we wish him every success with his plans. This is a very exciting project which could be a major asset for the region.”