A MUSEUM, underwater diving park and American themed D-Day attraction are part of new plans to regenerate a harbour gateway on Portland and bring Castletown 'off its knees'.

In November last year the Echo revealed how Nemesis Properties submitted a planning application to build workshops, storage units and holiday flats on premises on Castletown Pier - which has now been approved.

Nemesis Properties is owned by Derek Luckhurst, owner of care provider AginCare. The provider recently spent nearly £2m to turn the Admirality Buildings in Castletown into its new headquarters.

Castletown has been in decline since the Royal Navy left Portland although it is a popular centre for recreational diving.

The Castletown Pier premises are currently being transformed into a new development called Crabbers Wharf, providing up to 10 marine industrial units for local fishermen and crabbers.

Several units are being used by a local company breeding lump fish for the salmon farming industry.

Now further regeneration plans have been revealed, including a scuba diving tourist facility or 'underwater curiosity park', an American themed D-Day attraction and a borough museum.

The project also hopes to install a floating pontoon on the Crabbers Wharf development in a bid to resume the seasonal ferry from Weymouth to Portland.

In addition, Mr Luckhurst wants to approach Portland Port to discuss opening the two historical Mulberry Harbour phoenix units to the public.

He said: “We want to regenerate Castletown and bring it up off its knees.

“We hope the underwater park, to be situated close to the popular Countess of Erne diving wreck site, will include items relating to Portland including a Portland stone carving, an MoD tank, an anti-aircraft gun, torpedo, a battery gun from Chequers Fort and more.

“We now have approval for the underwater park and hope to have this established by spring next year.”

Mr Luckhurst added that the offer of a museum based in the Admirality Buildings 'still needs to be taken up by Weymouth and Portland Borough Council'.

He said: “I've offered them use of part of the building for free in a 10-year lease, as a museum is much needed in the borough and it is concerning that we don't have a proper museum to display artefacts relating to our history.”

Museum items which could be displayed include King George III's bathing machine.

Mr Luckhurst said: “If you take a stroll through Castletown today from Portland Castle to the dockyard gates, you will see boarded up shops and pubs, dilapidated houses and business facades.

“Castletown will always benefit from its proximity to Portland Port but this is unlikely to be of sufficient volume to facilitate growth in the area.”

Mr Luckhurst said thanks must go to both Portland Port and Weymouth and Portland Borough Council for their co-operation so far in the project.

He also added that Portland needed to become 'a destination rather than a stopping point' to many Portland Port cruise ship passengers who currently bypass the area.