Dorset

Kimmeridge planned fossil museum gets funding

Kimmeridge Bay
Image caption The rocks at Kimmeridge Bay were formed 155 million years ago

Plans to demolish an ageing village hall on Dorset's Jurassic Coast and replace it with a fossil museum and new hall have received a funding boost.

The £5m building will become the permanent home to Jurassic fossils collected over 30 years by resident Steve Etches.

The latest funding, of £50,000, has come from Purbeck District Council.

The Kimmeridge Trust, which is leading the project, said the new hall and museum would create eight new jobs.

The Etches Fossil Collection contains more than 2,000 specimens, some previously unknown to science.

'Unique opportunity'

The trust said it was the largest collection of Kimmeridge clay fossils outside of the Natural History Museum.

District councillor Peter Webb said: "This is a unique opportunity for Kimmeridge and for Purbeck as a whole.

"The new village hall and community facility will provide local residents with a superb new central hub and the museum will create a new focus for visitors to Kimmeridge, enhancing their experience and improving the local economy."

Planning permission has already been granted for the building, which will include a community space for up to 120 people.

The Heritage Lottery Fund has already funded the development stage of the project and a further bid for £2.5m will be submitted later this year.

If successful, building work will begin next year and the museum is expected to open in February 2016.

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