Jurassica dinosaur museum £80m project quashed

  • 11 October 2017
  • From the section Dorset

Jurassica designImage copyright Azureus Design
Image caption Preliminary designs for Jurassica showed a subterranean geological park

Plans for an £80m dinosaur-themed museum in a quarry on the Jurassic Coast have been quashed.

The Jurassica attraction was due to be built in a 40m (132ft) deep quarry on Portland, Dorset.

The scheme is instead joining with a neighbouring £16m biodiversity project called The Journey.

Jurassica chair Tracey Brown said the project’s trust, which includes Sir Tim Smit who is also a trustee of The Journey, would be dissolved.

Jurassica was the idea of science writer Michael Hanlon who died last year aged 51. Sir David Attenborough was the project’s patron.

The Journey – previously known as the Mass Extinction Memorial Observatory (MEMO) – had been due to be a £30m project designed as a monument to extinction, but due to funding pressures was revised as a £16m biodiversity scheme in a disused mine.

It is predicted to attract 325,000 visitors a year, create 79 year-round jobs and offer an ongoing programme for 30 apprentices on Portland.

Image copyright The Journey
Image caption The Journey is a £16m biodiversity scheme in a disused mine

Image copyright The Journey
Image caption Sir Tim Smit said The Journey would include an underground Jurassic rainforest within the tunnels of Albion Stone’s mines

Sir Tim Smit said: “Both projects were having a pickle – both trying to raise quite a lot of money – and then tragically my friend Mike died and the whole thing was thrown up in the air.”

He said merging the two was “deemed the best chance of success”.

Ms Brown said: “The combination of our visions will be greater than the sum of their parts, making this into one of the UK’s most exciting projects to be undertaken since the turn of the millennium.”

Describing The Journey as a “world-class attraction”, Sir Tim said it would include an underground Jurassic rainforest within the tunnels of Albion Stone’s mines.

Jurassica was awarded £37,300 of Heritage Lottery Funding in March.

Sir Tim said all of Jurassica’s assets had now been transferred to The Journey.

Image copyright Mark Godden
Image caption Plans for a memorial to extinction on Portland were first unveiled in 2010 but have since been revised

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Wednesday 11 October 2017