Support grows for £85million Portland attraction

Stuart Morris at Yeolands quarry, Portland

Stuart Morris at Yeolands quarry, Portland

First published in News Dorset Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

SUPPORT is growing for an ambitious £85million Jurassic Coast visitor attraction on Portland to rival the Eden Project.

The ‘Jurassica’ vision, which also 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.

More than 60 Dorset businesses and organisations have already shown their support for the project by attending a Jurassica presentation evening by Mr Hanlon in Bournemouth in December. Now, West Dorset MP Oliver Letwin will attend a follow up dinner at the Menzies East Cliff Court Hotel in Bournemouth on February 28 to hear of progress and more information about the proposal.

The vision 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.

Speaking to supporters at a previous dinner, 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.

Tony Williams, chairman of Wessex Entrepeneurs – promotional partner for Jurassica – said: “The next dinner will update everyone on the latest developments on the Jurassica Project.

“Mike Hanlon, the driving force behind the plan will be there to network personally with those attending.

“The Jurassica project offers a ground breaking opportunity for businesses in Dorset to come together and make this game changing idea work for everyone.”

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 has also backed the project.

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

The dinner will be hosted by Wessex Entrepeneurs and will begin at 6.45pm. For more information email tony.williams@wessexentrepreneurs.com or faye.waters@wessexentrepreneurs.com

Comments (10)

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8:05am Wed 12 Feb 14

cosmick says...

Keep my fingers crossed that this is not just talk and dreams of a few. Show us the cost and where the money comes from, the money it will produce. Has it got the nod from planning? Very easy to talk projects up harder to get under way and make them pay. I hope you all achive your goals.
Keep my fingers crossed that this is not just talk and dreams of a few. Show us the cost and where the money comes from, the money it will produce. Has it got the nod from planning? Very easy to talk projects up harder to get under way and make them pay. I hope you all achive your goals. cosmick
  • Score: 8

9:26am Wed 12 Feb 14

aviskat says...

So what happened to the Time Walk? Lots of history in Weymouth but council don't like promoting it. How are people going to find it if Tourist Info not within easy reach. They couldn't even cope with 2012 when they had the chance. Just hope it doesn't go pear shaped leaving an unfinished job somewhere out there in Portland's Dream.
So what happened to the Time Walk? Lots of history in Weymouth but council don't like promoting it. How are people going to find it if Tourist Info not within easy reach. They couldn't even cope with 2012 when they had the chance. Just hope it doesn't go pear shaped leaving an unfinished job somewhere out there in Portland's Dream. aviskat
  • Score: 3

10:47am Wed 12 Feb 14

Bollard says...

It's a bit of a strange aspiration to be like the Eden Project, which had deficit of £6.3m for the year ending March 2013.
It's a bit of a strange aspiration to be like the Eden Project, which had deficit of £6.3m for the year ending March 2013. Bollard
  • Score: 3

12:37pm Wed 12 Feb 14

portland rebel says...

its got my vote.
its got my vote. portland rebel
  • Score: 3

12:44pm Wed 12 Feb 14

Wilbraham says...

Sounds a good idea but has anyone done their sums and worked out how many vehicles this will generate and the effect on the Islands limited road system not forgetting Wyke and the infamous traffic system.
Sounds a good idea but has anyone done their sums and worked out how many vehicles this will generate and the effect on the Islands limited road system not forgetting Wyke and the infamous traffic system. Wilbraham
  • Score: 7

1:59pm Wed 12 Feb 14

portland pirate says...

Just what you need on top of a land fill site , could not think of a better use for it
A lot of these sort of places are we're you go once , what we need are things for tourist to come back to time and time again.
Come on start thinking outside the box and make use of old quarry workings not just pass over to butterfly's .

Restoration by abandonment has gone on for far to long on portland .
Just what you need on top of a land fill site , could not think of a better use for it A lot of these sort of places are we're you go once , what we need are things for tourist to come back to time and time again. Come on start thinking outside the box and make use of old quarry workings not just pass over to butterfly's . Restoration by abandonment has gone on for far to long on portland . portland pirate
  • Score: 2

5:43pm Wed 12 Feb 14

Rocket dog3 says...

It's definatly got my vote what a fantastic place we all hope it will be
It's definatly got my vote what a fantastic place we all hope it will be Rocket dog3
  • Score: 0

9:17pm Fri 14 Feb 14

popsiebabes says...

Will probably be blown away in the first year
Will probably be blown away in the first year popsiebabes
  • Score: 0

4:43pm Wed 19 Feb 14

schadwick says...

If this can be built and tied in with the cruise ships call into portland harbour
and the cruise passengers transported to 'Jurassica' what a money spinner for the Island............ge
t positive and build it
If this can be built and tied in with the cruise ships call into portland harbour and the cruise passengers transported to 'Jurassica' what a money spinner for the Island............ge t positive and build it schadwick
  • Score: 0

4:46pm Wed 19 Feb 14

schadwick says...

If this can be built and tied in with the cruise ships calling at Portland Harbour
then transporting the passenger up to Jurassica included in entry price
what a money generator for the Island - don't loose this idea .....jobs......money
.....approve it
If this can be built and tied in with the cruise ships calling at Portland Harbour then transporting the passenger up to Jurassica included in entry price what a money generator for the Island - don't loose this idea .....jobs......money .....approve it schadwick
  • Score: 0

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