ANIMAL lovers want to open a new interactive, exotic petting farm in the Dengie peninsula.

James and Craig Williams have set up a JustGiving page to attract donations for their vision of a petting farm in the Dengie.

The couple already have an established company, J&C’s Party Pets Ltd, which has been running for the past three years, which takes exotic animals including meerkats, parrots, armadillos and raccoons out to parties in Essex, Suffolk and Kent.

They keep their animals at a site in Southminster, which is not open to the public. They became inspired to design plans for a public petting farm following the closure of Tropical Wings Zoo in South Woodham Ferrers in December.

Whilst in its very early stages, provisionally they would like to have animals such as goats, pigs, cows, alpacas, reindeer and wallabies in the petting farm.

The couple need to raise around £20,000 to bring their dream to life, though all plans are completely dependent on potential success of planning applications.

On their fundraising page they wrote: “We want our farm to be a family orientated attraction that will give local people somewhere to bring children, adults, schools, youth groups and more and give them all somewhere they can enjoy meeting and interacting with farm animals whilst learning during their visit.

“We are asking our local community and beyond to help make our dream become a reality, with the prospect of bringing jobs and an economic boost to the area within the Dengie.

“This project is very much in its infancy and we still have all of the obstacles of planning and building which all costs money and which is why we are calling on our supporters and followers to help raise some much needed capital to turn a dream into reality.

“Everyone loves animals no matter what age we are, with the closure of a local zoo and lack of places for people to visit and enjoy the outdoors we feel that this is much needed attraction.

“80 per cent of our animals are rescued and this is something we would love to continue to do if the building of our farm is successful.”