Support grows for island answer to the Eden Project

Dorset Echo: SITE SCENE: Portland historian Stuart Morris at Yeolands quarry SITE SCENE: Portland historian Stuart Morris at Yeolands quarry

PROPOSALS for an £85million Jurassic Coast visitor attraction on Portland to rival the Eden Project have gained further support from more than 60 Dorset businesses.

The ambitious Jurassica vision, which has the backing of Sir David Attenborough and Eden Project supremo Sir Tim Smit, is to build a subterranean geological park in the former Yeolands quarry on the east side of the island.

Jurassica is inspired by the Eden Project and is the brainchild of science journalist Michael Hanlon, who grew up in Dorset and searched for fossils on the coast.

Exclusive preliminary design sketches have also been unveiled by Italian architect Renzo Piano, whose work includes the Shard in London.

More than 60 Dorset businesses and organisations showed their support for the project by attending a Jurassica presentation evening by Mr Hanlon in Bournemouth.

Businesses included Balfour Beatty, Princecroft Willis, Ruseena investment funding company and Savills as a potential sponsor, together with the Portland Harbour Authority.

Speaking to supporters on the night, Mr Hanlon said: “Jurassica will only happen if enough people, businesses and organisations give it their support.”

Showcasing world-class paleontological remains including dinosaurs, marine reptiles and plants, the park would be covered with a translucent ‘spider web’ roof.

The site, which would include an aquarium, is being described as about a third of the size of the Millennium Dome.

Mr Hanlon added: “I’m aware it is a very big and ambitious project. It would cost £85million to create and would employ more than 200 people.

“It aims to be an educational and heritage-focused charitable trust and would act as a hub for the Jurassic Coast UNESCO World Heritage Site.

“Jurassica will be very eco-friendly, using solar panels to generate its own power and hopefully reviving the park and ride scheme that was part of the Olympic transport system.

“I believe this will be the most important economic development in West Dorset since the 2012 Olympics, and will raise the profile of Weymouth and Portland on a long-term basis.”

Construction time is estimated to be three to five years and if funding can be secured, the project aims to be open by 2019.

Portland historian Stuart Morris said: “The plan is very ambitious but that’s how you start on things like this. It could be Portland’s Eden.”

For more information email tony.williams@wessexentrepreneurs.com or faye.waters@wessexentrepreneurs.com

Comments (13)

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8:16am Sat 21 Dec 13

TenBobDylanThomasHardy says...

Whilst this is an admirable plan, it would be both tragic and ironic if the Western Relief route, adjacent the Fleet, has to built to make it viable.
Whilst this is an admirable plan, it would be both tragic and ironic if the Western Relief route, adjacent the Fleet, has to built to make it viable. TenBobDylanThomasHardy

10:26am Sat 21 Dec 13

PiratePatch says...

Agreed, it would be a shameful thing to build a by pass next to a natural sssi and unesco world heritage site in order to be able to get people on and off the rock to visit a synthetic environment. Not that the council could afford it anyway.
Agreed, it would be a shameful thing to build a by pass next to a natural sssi and unesco world heritage site in order to be able to get people on and off the rock to visit a synthetic environment. Not that the council could afford it anyway. PiratePatch

10:31am Sat 21 Dec 13

PiratePatch says...

Agreed, it would be a shameful thing to build a by-pass next to an sssi and unesco world heritage site in order to get people to and from a man-made garden based theme park. Mind you, it's not like the council could afford it anyway so probably a moot point.
Agreed, it would be a shameful thing to build a by-pass next to an sssi and unesco world heritage site in order to get people to and from a man-made garden based theme park. Mind you, it's not like the council could afford it anyway so probably a moot point. PiratePatch

10:43am Sat 21 Dec 13

IDONTKNOWIFITISTRRUE says...

The western bypass could bring other benefits to Portland people and businesses. Which is more important, some scrubby vegetation alongside the causeway or people?
The western bypass could bring other benefits to Portland people and businesses. Which is more important, some scrubby vegetation alongside the causeway or people? IDONTKNOWIFITISTRRUE

2:26pm Sat 21 Dec 13

Weston7 says...

TenBobDylanThomasHar
dy
wrote:
Whilst this is an admirable plan, it would be both tragic and ironic if the Western Relief route, adjacent the Fleet, has to built to make it viable.
The Western Relief Road would NOT be adjacent to the Fleet. It would only touch it at the Ferry Bridge end. It's the only way of releaving the horrendous Town centre roads.
[quote][p][bold]TenBobDylanThomasHar dy[/bold] wrote: Whilst this is an admirable plan, it would be both tragic and ironic if the Western Relief route, adjacent the Fleet, has to built to make it viable.[/p][/quote]The Western Relief Road would NOT be adjacent to the Fleet. It would only touch it at the Ferry Bridge end. It's the only way of releaving the horrendous Town centre roads. Weston7

2:27pm Sat 21 Dec 13

Weston7 says...

PiratePatch wrote:
Agreed, it would be a shameful thing to build a by-pass next to an sssi and unesco world heritage site in order to get people to and from a man-made garden based theme park. Mind you, it's not like the council could afford it anyway so probably a moot point.
The Western Relief Road would NOT be adjacent to the Fleet. It would only touch it at the Ferry Bridge end. It's the only way of releaving the horrendous Town centre roads.
[quote][p][bold]PiratePatch[/bold] wrote: Agreed, it would be a shameful thing to build a by-pass next to an sssi and unesco world heritage site in order to get people to and from a man-made garden based theme park. Mind you, it's not like the council could afford it anyway so probably a moot point.[/p][/quote]The Western Relief Road would NOT be adjacent to the Fleet. It would only touch it at the Ferry Bridge end. It's the only way of releaving the horrendous Town centre roads. Weston7

3:51pm Sat 21 Dec 13

jimpby says...

And here's me thinking Portland was in south Dorset.
And here's me thinking Portland was in south Dorset. jimpby

6:29pm Sat 21 Dec 13

TenBobDylanThomasHardy says...

https://www.google.c
o.uk/#q=adjacent
next to or adjoining something else.
synonyms:
adjoining, neighbouring (on), next door to, abutting, close to, near to, next to, by, close by, by the side of, bordering (on), beside, alongside, abreast of, contiguous with, proximate to, attached to, touching, joining;

Still too close!
https://www.google.c o.uk/#q=adjacent next to or adjoining something else. synonyms: adjoining, neighbouring (on), next door to, abutting, close to, near to, next to, by, close by, by the side of, bordering (on), beside, alongside, abreast of, contiguous with, proximate to, attached to, touching, joining; Still too close! TenBobDylanThomasHardy

6:59pm Sat 21 Dec 13

Weston7 says...

TenBobDylanThomasHar
dy
wrote:
https://www.google.c

o.uk/#q=adjacent
next to or adjoining something else.
synonyms:
adjoining, neighbouring (on), next door to, abutting, close to, near to, next to, by, close by, by the side of, bordering (on), beside, alongside, abreast of, contiguous with, proximate to, attached to, touching, joining;

Still too close!
Quating an environmental report
"Walkers enjoying the footpath along the shore of the Fleet will hardly see anything of the road. The Coastal Path will remain intact, as will the Fleet’s international RAMSAR status.
In the preliminary design 60% of this road will be in shallow cutting through the fields. Landscape studies in the 1990s by ecological firm Adrian Lisney & Partners saw no overriding problems, and experts Ecological Planning & Research, who investigated the effects on birdlife, the SSSI etc. concluded “. . . there is no real objection to the Western Route on conservation grounds”.
[quote][p][bold]TenBobDylanThomasHar dy[/bold] wrote: https://www.google.c o.uk/#q=adjacent next to or adjoining something else. synonyms: adjoining, neighbouring (on), next door to, abutting, close to, near to, next to, by, close by, by the side of, bordering (on), beside, alongside, abreast of, contiguous with, proximate to, attached to, touching, joining; Still too close![/p][/quote]Quating an environmental report "Walkers enjoying the footpath along the shore of the Fleet will hardly see anything of the road. The Coastal Path will remain intact, as will the Fleet’s international RAMSAR status. In the preliminary design 60% of this road will be in shallow cutting through the fields. Landscape studies in the 1990s by ecological firm Adrian Lisney & Partners saw no overriding problems, and experts Ecological Planning & Research, who investigated the effects on birdlife, the SSSI etc. concluded “. . . there is no real objection to the Western Route on conservation grounds”. Weston7

9:58am Sun 22 Dec 13

David_divenghy2 says...

It's a brilliant idea and might help to make up for the financial usurping of Portland for so many years by the WPBC.

Portland is long overdue investment and put to use it's resources.
It's a brilliant idea and might help to make up for the financial usurping of Portland for so many years by the WPBC. Portland is long overdue investment and put to use it's resources. David_divenghy2

6:52pm Sun 22 Dec 13

smilealoft44 says...

Dream on.
Dream on. smilealoft44

4:30pm Mon 23 Dec 13

Caption Sensible says...

I think it is an excellent idea. The only real misgiving I have at this stage is how to route any heavy traffic through Fortuneswell? And of course the Western Route should be built - how is Portland going to economically develop otherwise?
I think it is an excellent idea. The only real misgiving I have at this stage is how to route any heavy traffic through Fortuneswell? And of course the Western Route should be built - how is Portland going to economically develop otherwise? Caption Sensible

9:24am Thu 26 Dec 13

JamesYoung says...

Caption Sensible wrote:
I think it is an excellent idea. The only real misgiving I have at this stage is how to route any heavy traffic through Fortuneswell? And of course the Western Route should be built - how is Portland going to economically develop otherwise?
Fortuneswell would be a big issue, but could that be avoided by opening up the area behind Portland port and routing traffic around "Incline Road" which appears on Google Maps to be a road running around the island to the East and reappearing near The Grove? I don't know what capability that road would have (only spotted it on google after reading your note), but even a one way system would make a difference i guess.
The western relief road is (sadly) long overdue and should go ahead with or without this "Jurassica" project.. The Brown Route was ultimately constructed sympathetically and i've no doubt the same can be said of this one. Opening up a fast route into the area could result in more port business and possibly even a cruise terminal.
[quote][p][bold]Caption Sensible[/bold] wrote: I think it is an excellent idea. The only real misgiving I have at this stage is how to route any heavy traffic through Fortuneswell? And of course the Western Route should be built - how is Portland going to economically develop otherwise?[/p][/quote]Fortuneswell would be a big issue, but could that be avoided by opening up the area behind Portland port and routing traffic around "Incline Road" which appears on Google Maps to be a road running around the island to the East and reappearing near The Grove? I don't know what capability that road would have (only spotted it on google after reading your note), but even a one way system would make a difference i guess. The western relief road is (sadly) long overdue and should go ahead with or without this "Jurassica" project.. The Brown Route was ultimately constructed sympathetically and i've no doubt the same can be said of this one. Opening up a fast route into the area could result in more port business and possibly even a cruise terminal. JamesYoung

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