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 email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org