A PLANNING application has been submitted for a wildlife park at Compton Greenfield.

The National Wildlife Conservation Park, the first of its kind in the country, is being built by Bristol Zoo at the Hollywood Tower Estate.

Due to open in 2012, the £70 million park will offer a 21st century approach to zoos, housing animals in settings close to their natural habitat.

The plans, which have now been submitted to South Gloucestershire Council, include a number of ecosystems including Congo and Sumatra rainforest, Georgia wetlands, Tanzania savannah, Nepal grasslands, China montane forest, Costa Rica swamp and Indian Ocean coral reef.

As well as housing animals such as plans Bears, Giraffes, Zebras, Rhinos and Wolves, the park will also have an animal hospital, restaurant, Conservation Breeding Centre, ranger stations, elevated and covered walkways and bridges.

According to the designers, Bristol-based architects White Design, the park will include imaginative solutions for containing dangerous animals and will allow visitors to get close to the animals.

At the entrance to the Sumatran tiger enclosure there will be a covered walkway partly sunk into the ground so visitors will be at eye level with the animals so they can watch them enjoy their watering-hole.

Birgit Schaffarra, of Buro Happold, structural engineers on the project, said: "The Zoo wants visitors to walk around and feel as if they are part of the various landscapes.

"They want to move away from that fenced-in feeling you often experience in zoos, and the emphasis is on great respect for the animals."

Till Scherer, of White Design, who have designed large elements of the scheme, said: "This world class project will combine both animal conservation and sustainability throughout, allowing visitors to think differently about the world they live in.

"Every aspect of the park's design incorporates sustainability, from the individual buildings and the engineering infrastructure to the landscape that combines them. A fully holistic approach to the design was possible as a result of great communication between all design team members."

The plans for the National Wildlife Conservation Park will be available shortly to view on-line at www.southglos.gov.uk