AN AMBITIOUS £85million Jurassic Coast visitor attraction on Portland to rival the Eden Project has been granted charitable status.
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.
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.
Tony Williams of Wessex Entrepeneurs, promotional partner for Jurassica, said: “It’s absolutely fantastic news that the Jurassica project has been granted charitable status.
“This means that it can now begin to raise funding for what we all hope will be a world class visitor attraction that will put Dorset on the global map.
“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 for the project is estimated to be three to five years and if funding can be secured, the project aims to be open by 2019.
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.
Portland historian Stuart Morris is in favour of the project and has previously called the project ‘Portland’s Eden’.
Showcasing world-class paleontological remains including dinosaurs, marine reptiles and plants, the park would be covered with a translucent ‘spider web’ roof.
West Dorset MP Oliver Letwin will also 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 dinner will be hosted by Wessex Entrepeneurs and will begin at 6.45pm.
For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. A website has now also been set up for the project at jurassica.org