PLANS for a light railway to Portland are in serious doubt because land is being swallowed up by the Osprey Quay redevelopment.

Rail bosses today demanded answers from landowner the South West Regional Development Agency (SWRDA), which they claim gave written assurances that a route through the site would be protected.

Jurassic Coast Railway (JCR) director Nigel Ewens was surprised to find there was no provision in the £30 million businesses and tourism development plans unveiled by Sutton Harbour Group last week.

The Weymouth to Portland line would compliment the new development but if there is no land available the project cannot proceed, Mr Ewens said.

A meeting in London earlier this year was attended by representatives of JCR and SWRDA, plus Dorset MPs Jim Knight and Oliver Letwin.

Mr Ewens said it was confirmed at the meeting that a rail route would be protected and JCR would discuss with any potential Osprey Quay developer how a link could be integrated into any plans.

"This has clearly not been the case," said Mr Ewens.

"If Sutton Harbour Group develop that part of the site along the lines of their published scheme the rail project will be economically undeliverable. It's a project killer."

Mr Ewens said the railway would take up just a small amount of land and enhance the commercial success of the development.

South Dorset MP Jim Knight said: "At the London meeting Nigel Ewens was given six months to come up with something in writing that demonstrated the project had finance and was viable.

"He's missed that deadline."

Mr Knight said he supported the vision but added: "Until there's evidence that it's going to happen there's a limit to how much time can be spent on it."

A SWRDA spokesman said: "Nearly nine months on (from the meeting) we have not received a report on any feasibility study and are not aware of whether work has actually started.

"In the absence of any viable proposals for the railway the focus for the agency is to work to pursue deliverable regeneration proposals for the site that align with the master plan for Osprey Quay which has been through several phases of consultation and is part of local planning policy."