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Portland residents come out in force to Jurassica proposal public meeting
PORTLAND residents came out in force to the second Jurassica community meeting.
The St.George's Centre was full of residents who came to show their support for the project and to ask its creator, Michael Hanlon, questions that were concerning them.
The Jurassica design team is lead by Renzo Piano and aims to celebrate the unique geological heritage of the Jurassic Coast. The old Yeolands Quarry on Portland is earmarked for the project.
It is still in its early stages but has received backing from businesses and high profile figures including Sir David Attenborough
Mr Hanlon, a science journalist who grew up in Dorset, said: “I am staggered by the turnout this evening and I am staggered by the level of support.
“I was expecting around 20 or 30 people to come, we put out seating for 50 people and I think there was nearly about three times that amount.
“People asked a lot of difficult questions about money and planning and I felt I was able to answer them and show the people of Portland that we take all of their concerns on board.”
Throughout the meeting, residents aired their concerns about the cost of the development, which is now estimated to cost between £65 - £75 million, and the issues it raises in terms of transport.
However, many residents appeared to support the project, which is estimated to bring more than 200 jobs to the area and an economic boost similar to that created by the Eden Project.
Among the crowd of people that turned out to hear about the latest developments for Jurassica was Portland town mayor Robert Hughes.
He said: “It’s excellent to come to meetings with such an overwhelming turnout.
“I really support the idea of Jurassica, it will bring jobs and tourism to Portland, as well as a wonderful educational facility.
“Portland is the crown jewel of Dorset and Jurassica is an excellent idea, it will provide something for people of all ages.”
The project leaders are applying for Heritage Lottery Funding later this year and another community meeting is set to be held in late November to keep residents updated on the latest developments.
Construction time is estimated to be between three to five years and if funding can be secured, the project aims to be open by 2019.