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If you want to run a zoo or keep a collection of animals for display to the public in Maidstone you will need a Zoo Licence.

You might not need a licence if you are only going to keep a small collection of animals at your zoo. Before making an application contact the licensing partnership team by emailing or call 01732 227004 and they will confirm whether you will need to apply for a licence.

Before applying for a licence you will need to apply for planning permission so that it can be used as a zoo. Check our Planning Pages for more information.

Other Licences

You won’t need a Dangerous Wild Animal Licence if you are applying for a Zoo Licence.

If you are planning to train, exhibit or display performing animals at your zoo you will need a Performing Animals Licence. More information about this can be found on the Performing Animals Licence section

Those working with the animals to train or display them to the public will also need to ensure that they have the right licence.

Apply for a licence

Before applying, you will need to:

  • Apply to run a zoo online on the website. This is free and must be done two months before you apply for your licence.
  • Publish a notice in local and national newspapers confirming that you have applied
  • Display a notice at the premises confirming that you have applied.

You will need to supply:

  • A copy of the notice that was placed in local and national newspapers
  • A copy of the notice that was displayed at the premises
  • A copy of your Public Liability Insurance to the value of at least £5 million
  • A copy of your Employers Liability Insurance to the value of at least 5 million to fully cover anyone working for you.
  • A full stock list of the animals that you intend to keep or exhibit on the premises, including the species, gender and how many of each type.
  • A detailed plan of your premises including all relevant features such as emergency access, any public areas, animal accommodation, exercise areas, water, electricity access and any storage areas.
  • A fully annotated plan showing the accommodation for the animals including holding capacity, bedding, exercise areas, sick bays, nursery areas and any areas not open to the public.
  • A copy of your planning consents

Apply for a zoo licence

How long does it take

Applications take 90 days to process, with a pre-inspection visit taking place after 10 days. We will contact you within eight days of receiving the application to arrange the visit. A formal inspection will be arranged after the pre-inspection visit. During the first four years we will carry out three formal inspections of your premises. We will give you at least 28 days notice before arranging a formal inspection with you.

Renew my licence

The first time you renew your licence will be after four years. You need to renew your licence six months before your current one expires. You can renew your licence and pay the fee online on the website.

You will need to supply all supporting documents with the renewal, apart from the notices that you placed in the local newspaper and at the premises when first applying to run the zoo.

Your licence will then be issued for six years and we will carry out three more formal inspections of the zoo during that time. You will then need to renew your licence every six years.

Renew my licence

Make changes to my licence

If you need to change your licence:

  • You can apply and pay the fees online on the website
  • It will be treated as a new application

You will also need to include supporting documents with your application, if you have made changes to:

  • Your stock
  • Your insurance
  • Your certification or the certification of your staff
  • The layout of the premises

You might not need to change your licence if you’re making small changes to the premises. Before making an application contact the licensing partnership team by emailing or call 01732 227004 and they will confirm whether you need to make a new application.

Change my licence

Licence fees

New applications, renewals and changes to existing licences will cost £565 which includes a deposit of £2,150.

Upon receiving the application, veterinary inspections will be carried out. If they cost no more than £724, you will get all of your deposit back. If they cost more than £724 the additional cost will be taken out of your deposit.

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