The Isle of Wight Council’s leader has called plans for the regeneration of Dinosaur Isle a ‘Disneyland opportunity’.
It has been revealed that the proposals for the Sandown sea-front site are being scaled-up and will cost an investor ‘significantly more’ than £33 million, potentially opening in spring 2023.
Speaking at last week’s cabinet meeting, Cllr Dave Stewart said it was a fantastic opportunity for the Island, which he described as a ‘Disneyland opportunity for a dinosaur park’. He said: “A lot of people have an affinity to this location … if all works well, we can see some great success in a town that needs and deserves regeneration.”
Talks have been under way between the council and one bidder, a German company who has not been named, to find someone to invest in the dinosaur museum near Yaverland. However, it has been suggested by the company that the current proposals do not go far enough and that more could be done to make the attraction a success.
The plans for the site have not been made public, but Cllr Wayne Whittle, cabinet member for regeneration and business development, said they would put the attraction on a ‘different level’ in terms of national and international significance and would ‘go way beyond’ what the Isle of Wight Council initially asked for. He said the local authority is trying to achieve the best possible outcomes for an exciting and significant investment, while maintaining Dinosaur Isle’s collection of dinosaur finds.
It was agreed, by the cabinet, to review the current tender proposals and see what more could be done. Because the proposals from the current bidder differ so much from the initial tender document, the council may have to go back to the drawing board and start the tendering process again. Council officers will report back to leading cabinet members as early as June.
Previously, talks with investors have led to council officers visiting tendering sites, including one in Portugal.