03 Nov 2021

New focus for Culver Parade regeneration

Councillors look set to reaffirm their commitment to securing a long-term solution for the future of Dinosaur Isle and the regeneration of the Culver Parade area of Sandown when they meet next week.

A report on the future of the museum and its internationally renowned fossil collection is due to go before Cabinet members on Thursday (11 November).

The paper recommends the council seeks to secure an "effective and sustainable long-term future" for the attraction and, crucially, its museum accreditation, either at its current site or an alternative location on the Island.

The museum remains open and fully supported by the council.

The report, published today, also seeks Cabinet support for a fresh approach to the regeneration of council land at Culver Parade, with the development of a new investment opportunity for the area with heritage and the environment at its centre.

It comes as the council announced it had reconsidered previous proposals for a new dinosaur-themed visitor attraction at Dinosaur Isle and the adjoining Browns Golf Course following further talks with a potential investor.

Such a venture could be explored elsewhere on the Island, the report adds.

Councillor Jonathan Bacon, Cabinet member for environment and heritage, said the council was committed to ensuring the Island remained an internationally renowned location for palaeontology.

He also acknowledged the strong feeling in the community to maintain Browns golf course, as highlighted by a recent 3,000-strong petition raising concerns about the future use of land in the area.

"The basis for a new investment proposition at Culver Parade is to be focussed on public access, maintaining the existing environment and heritage and complement the UNESCO Biosphere designation of the Island," he said.

"We are conscious of the need to move things forward, both for the regeneration of Sandown and the potential of our world renowned dinosaur collection.

"Unfortunately in the last few years we seem to have been trying to put a square peg in a round hole. This paper allows us to take things forward without unhelpful self imposed restraints and concentrating on what will best serve our heritage and environment.

“In the meantime, the council will continue to support the tenancy of the golf course for its management and maintenance."

Councillor Julie Jones-Evans, Cabinet member for regeneration and business development, said the new administration wanted to secure alternative investments that complemented the area’s natural environment and unique heritage.

She said: "The process to bring forward the regeneration of the Culver Parade area has presented the council with some complex challenges.

"However, as a major landowner and provider of a key tourism and educational facility, we recognise the opportunity to take a leadership role in the future of this part of the Bay which has suffered from under investment over many years.

"It's imperative to us, as a new administration, to develop an opportunity for regeneration and investment that will enhance what the local community values as important in this area of Sandown."

To read the Cabinet paper in full, visit: https://iow.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=145&MId=532&Ver=4


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Factfile
  • A report on the future of the museum and its internationally renowned fossil collection is due to go before Cabinet members on Thursday (11 November).
  • Dinosaur Isle remains open and fully supported by the council.
 
Isle of Wight, UK