Plans for a 42-bedroom hotel and restaurant overlooking a new African savannah habitat at Chester Zoo have been put on hold due to the impact of Covid-19 on the charity.
Speaking on a Chester Business Club webinar, Jamie Christon, chief operating officer of Chester Zoo, said the zoo "will be cutting back and scaling back on our development plans" and the project, dubbed ‘grasslands', would be "put on hold for a number of years".
The project got planning permission last year and was expected to open in 2022, however Christon spoke of the financial difficulty the zoo has suffered as a result of being closed since March.
He said it costs £1.6m each month just to run the zoo and the charity had already lost £5m this year, adding: "We will come back… but it's going to take us a few years. This is a massive scar for us as a zoo… We've never been in this sort of desperate situation in the past."
Zoos and safari parks in the UK are set to reopen from 15 June.