I write as a very concerned resident of Weymouth, but also as a keen supporter of the Eden Portland project, which would be so timely given the concerns for climate change and loss of biodiversity, and would provide an inspirational visitor attraction and catalyst for economic regeneration for Dorset.

My concerns for Weymouth and Portland are that in the years we have known the area since moving here in 1977 it has faced blow after blow economically with the loss of the Dorset Institute of Higher Education, closure of the Portland Naval Base, the Admiralty Research Establishment, the reduction in jobs at Winfrith, HM Land Registry and many local firms, plus the reduction in local government employment in the area as a result of joint working with other councils followed by unitary status.

All this is additional to the challenges faced by most coastal communities.

The area will continue to take a downward economic trajectory unless substantial investment is made as a diminishing amount of relative wealth is held by many of those people who currently hold pensions from jobs when the area was more productive. This is now predominately a low wage area.

However the creation of unitary local government in Dorset has concealed the seriousness of the statistics for Weymouth and Portland compared with many coastal communities where local government has not been restructured. Weymouth and Portland feature amongst the most disadvantaged communities in terms of productivity, economic opportunities, education and social mobility.

Despite this the high quality of landscape, the character of much of its built environment and the recreational opportunities in the area offer realistic expectation that it is capable of recovery and would reward investment.

The Eden Project has provided great support to Cornwall’s economy and proved a huge catalyst for investment by others.

Portland, Weymouth and the wider area would derive huge benefit from the Eden Portland project with its globally recognised “brand” and Government and local authority financial support now would be strongly rewarded by raising the profile of this disadvantaged area.

This support would all be so timely with the current focus with the UK hosting this year’s global conference seeking accord and progress in addressing climate change and biodiversity loss.


Littlemoor Road, Weymouth