Neighbours: Nick Leslau with his wife Maxine. He says he has had a positive meeting with zoo bosses in which he raised residents’ worries (Getty Images)
Theme park tycoon Nick Leslau, who owns Alton Towers and Thorpe Park, was among those to complain, calling the zoo’s application “unfair” on neighbours.
Mr Leslau, 58, who starred in an episode of TV’s Secret Millionaire and has an apartment close to the zoo, had a “positive” meeting with its officials and enlisted the help of specialist licensing lawyer Clare Eames to work with them on limiting the application.
The zoo has since said its bid was never meant to cover more than 35 extra Christmas events between November and January, and would cater for no more than 3,000 people a time. It said it had now “refined” its application to reflect this and objections had been withdrawn. Mr Leslau said: “We enjoy living close to the zoo and tolerate the noise generated by events because they are currently only allowed a limited number. It would be unfair on neighbours to be subjected to more.”
Rich Storton, the zoo’s director of communications, said it was now seeking to hold “a limited number of after-hours, twinkling light trails around the zoo at Christmas”. He added that the events are designed to help people “enjoy the magic of the zoo”. There was uproar three years ago when 105 residents objected to an application that could have let the zoo hold events for up to 15,000 revellers.
Westminster council’s licensing committee is expected to make a decision on the latest proposal tomorrow. Ms Eames said residents had come to a position that they “would be satisfied” if the committee agrees to the conditions they asked of the zoo.