Centre Vale Park’s reptile house could soon be restored to its former glory thanks to the plans of one dedicated animal enthusiast.
Todmorden’s very own reptile man, Mark Symonds, wants to take over the running of the house and create an attraction the town can be proud of.
From burmese pythons and boa constrictors, to anacondas, corn snakes, spiders, scorpions, poison arrow frogs, bearded dragons, green iguanas, chameleons, geckos and a skunk called Pepe, Mark’s collection is one to be marvelled at.
Now Mark, whose love of reptiles was ignited when he received his first iguana at the age of 11, hopes to use his knowledge, expertise and even his own animals to improve the park’s reptile house.
“I want to completely transform it and I’ve done an assessment of what needs to be done,” Mark, 34, said.
“I’d like to do educational tours, hold events and get schools in to do work experience.
“I want everyone to be involved and the response has already been really good.”
Mark hopes that the centre, if transformed, will host an impressive range of interesting and varied species for visitors to enjoy.
He also plans to create a ‘living rainforest’ to house geckos, frogs, turtles and tortoises, along with other species that can co-exist within a rainforest environment.
Alongside Mark’s proposals to improve the reptile house, he would also like to bring the nearby Acorn Community Centre back to life by turning it into an educational centre for schools and colleges.
Mark added that it would give him immense pride to restore the reptile house to its once impressive state, and he is now in the process of putting together a proposal to go before Calderdale Council.
Calderdale Council’s Head of Neighbourhoods, Andrew Pitts, said: “The project is in the very early stages, but the resident has met with our Upper Valley team, to discuss initial ideas and ways in which we might be able to work together to provide an improved facility within the park.”