Dorset

Portland quarry attraction to open in 2020

MEMO Observatory Image copyright Mark Godden
Image caption Plans for a memorial to extinction were first unveiled in 2010

An attraction originally designed as a monument to extinction will open to the public in 2020, 10 years after it was first approved.

The Journey - previously known as the Mass Extinction Memorial Observatory (MEMO) - is being built on Portland on the World Heritage Jurassic Coast.

The £30m project, first given the green light in 2010, was originally designed as a spiral stone tower.

But funding pressures have led to a revised £16m scheme in a disused mine.

The evolution of the project follows a partnership with the Eden Project in Cornwall.

The attraction - which will now be dedicated to biodiversity, not extinction - will be built within the tunnels of Albion Stone's mines and accessed from Bower's Quarry on the Dorset peninsula.

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.

Weymouth & Portland Borough Council, Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership, Dorset County Council and a number of private benefactors have pledged funds towards the £1.6m cost of developing the project.

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