Future of Browns uncertain as possible bidder gets cold feet

By Chris Cornford Mar 9, 2021

The idea of finding a commercial partner to rescue Sandown’s Dinosaur Isle museum looks to have hit the buffers.

The Isle of Wight Council’s Cabinet will be advised, next week, that they must rethink their plans. The “process to secure an investment partner has proved challenging due to the significant nature of the investment required, uncertainty on the viability of a commercial investment and the challenges of the site and location.”
A report to Cabinet by regeneration officers suggests the sole bidder to partner Dinosaur Isle – believed to be a consortium involving a European dinosaur theme park company – has balked at the idea of taking on the existing museum, reported in 2017 to need around £850,000 spent on repair and maintenance.

The 7½ hectare of the neighbouring Brown’s Golf Course were understood to be on the negotiating table to help attract a Dinosaur Isle partner, but the latest development leaves the future more unclear than ever.

In the Cabinet report, officers acknowledge that the value of the site is limited given its location in an area ‘vulnerable to both coastal and fluvial flooding’. They propose to submit a further report on the Council’s options in June.

Paul Coueslant/Sandown Hub