A pre-application for planning permission has been submitted by a marine life sanctuary in Cornwall to replace four of its existing resident swimming pools.
The Cornish Seal Sanctuary is looking to replace four existing resident pools in order to meet its short, medium and long term goals at Gweek, where the sanctuary is based.
According to the pre-application submitted on behalf of the sanctuary, the existing pools are currently experiencing structural issues such as leaks.
In the app, they state: “Where possible, tanks are drained and repaired, but this only offers a limited, short-term solution to a progressive age-related problem.
“Furthermore, the design of the existing pool does not meet current husbandry standards and guidelines for the ‘Management of Marine Mammals under Human Protection (July 2018)’ and the sanctuary’s goal, to exceed minimum standards in wherever possible.
“In addition, the existing life support system will benefit from an overall improvement, providing protein skimming to allow faster removal of coliforms, improving animal health and water visibility for seals and visitors.”
The pre-application also states that it estimates the cost of this investment to range from £1m to £1.5m and that it would ‘transform existing facilities for resident animals and visitors’.
The purpose of a pre-application is to obtain the opinion of a town planning officer before the filing of an official town planning application.
The Cornish Seal Sanctuary was founded by Ken Jones, a retired miner, in 1975 and over the years the size of the sanctuary and the number of tanks it contains has grown.
Most seals that are cared for by sanctuary staff will eventually be cured and may be released back into the wild.
However, some would not survive if they were to be released into the wild.
These seals remain residents of the sanctuary and take on the role of its ambassadors to help educate the thousands of visitors the sanctuary welcomes each year about marine pollution and other wildlife threats.