I'VE just sent this to Cllr Ferrari of Dorset Council, and the MP whose support is vital:

I strongly urge Dorset Council to seek funding for the Eden Portland project. This remarkable scheme has already passed major hurdles with flying colours.

'Exciting' is a much-used word, but in this context that is certainly what Eden Portland is. I ask that the council takes the full opportunity to support it by applying for the maximum from the Levelling-Up Fund. No over-cautious or half-hearted approach would convey its potential importance to an area far beyond Portland.

It cannot be right that the LG reorganisation has resulted in Portland and Weymouth being drawn into Dorset's Tier 3 priority, whereas the former W&P Borough with its pockets of high deprivation would have put us in the highest Priority 1. I hope this will be argued vigorously as it is a special case.

Portland Eden has been a long time in gestation; any less deserving scheme would have fallen by the wayside years ago. It is supremely ambitious, but its continuing momentum is largely due to the incredible support it has from some internationally renowned figures and organisations.

The level of support for Eden Portland has been stratospheric: Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh was its Royal Patron; he hosted a special dinner at Buckingham Palace for it in 2014; Professor E. O. Wilson, is an active International Patron (the US press described him as the "heir of Darwin" of the "father of biodiversity". I filmed him enthusiastically endorsing the project whilst standing on Portland's West Cliff).

With others such as Sir Tim Smit (Eden Project) and renowned architect Sir David Adjaye on board, we all, including the council, owe it to them, and to Dorset, to press for a generous input from the Levelling-Up Fund. Success will unlock tens of £millions in funding from multiple sources including international philanthropists.

The remarkable growth of Portland Port's cruise market should give EP an even greater imperative. It does Dorset little good to see several cruise lines now promoting their stops as Portland (for Stonehenge). Eden Portland would be a huge attraction for foreign tourists, as well as 'staycationers'.

Stuart Morris

Weston Road