A POPULAR attraction in Maldon Promenade Park has become the first official zoo in the district after a successful application.

Maldon Promenade Petting Zoo became the district’s first ever official zoo yesterday after a successful inspection for its licence application.

Zoo directors James and Craig Williams applied for the zoo licence after its tragic fire last year.

About 60 mammals, birds and reptiles died in the fire at the private farm in the Dengie.

The incident was down to a “freak accident” and the insurance received has helped the zoo rebuild and remember the lives lost.

Previously the zoo operated under an AAL license.

However, due to its large animal collection, growing size and popularity, bosses decided to look at having an official zoo licence.

Read more >>> Petting zoo 'recovering' after its devastating fire and reveals future plans

Craig Williams, petting zoo director, said: “All the staff and friends of the zoo have worked tirelessly towards this momentous inspection, there have been blood, sweat and tears and plenty of sleepless nights.

“However, we are immensely proud to announce we have passed."

This means, from yesterday, Maldon Promenade Petting Zoo is the first and only official zoo in the Maldon district.

Craig added: “This marks a massive and momentous occasion for all of us here at Maldon Promenade Petting Zoo by J and C Party Pets and we are incredibly proud of the work we have all done.

“First we would like to say a massive thank you to all our wonderful staff for their hard work, it's all paid off.

“We would also like to thank all our friends of the business for their support, sorry there are too many to list but you have all been a massive help.

“Massive thank you to Call of the Wild Zoo for all your help and support, your advice was so valuable.

Thank you to Maldon Promenade Park and Helen from Maldon District Council.

“And a big thank you to the inspector from DEFRA, it was great to meet you and thank you for all your advice.

“Once again thank you to everyone involved, we could not have done it without any of you.”