A LONG fight over a children’s petting zoo in East Lancashire may soon be drawing to a close after town hall bosses signalled their support for the vent-ure.

Animal Quackers, in Bacup, has been closed down by Rossendale Council’s environmental health department, and been the subject of a complicated plan-ning battle.

But now development control officials have recommended that Terry Bork’s proposals for Huttock Top Farm, in Newchurch Old Road, should be approved.

Mr Bork, who had feared some of his animals might have to be slaughtered, said: “The goodwill we have received from so many people has been fantastic.

“Fingers crossed this will be the decision we have been looking for.”

He has told planners that, out of season, he intends to make a small living from breeding and selling animals, though this would not require explicit permission.

The petting zoo would be open between 10am and 4pm at weekends, bank holidays, and school holid-ays, and school parties will no longer be accepted.

County highway engineers have said that there is adequate parking and, despite previous concerns about vehicles reaching the farm, they were satisfied limited opening hours would reduce the impact on the road network locally.

Planning manager Steph- en Stray has admitted that the authority did have a number of concerns prev-iously about the way the business had been run, incl- uding the 2012 interven-tion.

But he said in a report: “There are a number of reg- ulatory powers available to environmental health to address any health and safety, or food safety, issues relating to his business should they occur.”

If the proposals are app-roved, then a number of provisions outlined by the enforcement notice would be cancelled.

However, Mr Bork would still be required to remove entertainment, play and catering equipment not associated with the pett-ing zoo.

The final decision rests with the borough coun-cil’s development control committee when it meets at Bacup’s Futures Park on Tuesday.