Growth Deal project completion marks boost to county’s tourism economy

Published on Monday 29 April, 2019 by Charlotte Knight

The restoration of one of Dorset’s much-loved piers has marked the completion of another local growth project that is helping to boost the local tourism economy through the creation of jobs and increased visitor numbers and local spend.

Swanage Pier in Dorset is one of only a few timber piers in the UK but is under constant threat from a challenging marine environment. Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) provided funding to the Swanage Pier Trust to restore the pier whilst also helping to secure education and retail facilities.

The project is one of a number of tourism projects that Dorset LEP has been able to secure Local Growth funding for with investment also going towards the new Mary Anning Wing at Lyme Regis Museum, the renovation of Shire Hall Historic Courthouse in Dorchester and a unique tourist attraction in a mine on Portland which is being delivered in partnership with Eden Project International Limited.

Collectively, these projects are expected to attract 393,000 visitors per annum to the county and create 163.5 jobs.

Shire Hall Historic Courthouse Museum in Dorchester brings over 200 years of justice and injustice to life. Funding was awarded to West Dorset District Council to bring back the disused listed building into sustainable and productive economic use. The project has resulted in the creation two apartments for rent, refurbished exhibition and law courts, and a new café & shop.

A new Mary Anning Wing at Lyme Regis Museum has resulted in enhanced learning, exhibition and café space.  Situated in the heart of Lyme Regis, the museum is built on the site of the home of Mary Anning, the famous English fossil collector, dealer, and palaeontologist, with stunning views of Lyme Bay and the Jurassic Coast.  

Eden Portland brings together the visions of two world-class attraction projects that had been planned for Portland for some time - MEMO (Mass Extinction Monitoring Observatory) and Jurassica. The attraction will be located in spectacular tunnels excavated by Albion Stone in Jordan's Mine, which is nearing the end of its industrial life. There will be nearly a linear kilometre of underground 'gallery' space. Inside this labyrinth of tunnels, visitors will explore the dramatic history of life on earth. 

Chair of Dorset LEP Jim Stewart said:“Dorset proudly boasts some of the UK’s most stunning countryside, coastline and visitor attractions, making tourism an important component of the local economy.  Dorset LEP is pleased to have been able to secure investment for these exciting projects, which will benefit the local economy through the creation of jobs and increased visitor spend.”

About the Local Growth Fund

Local Enterprise Partnerships are playing a vital role in driving forward economic growth across the country, helping to build a country that works for everyone.

That’s why by 2021 Government will have invested over £12bn through the Local Growth Fund, allowing LEPs to use their local knowledge to get all areas of the country firing on all cylinders.

To date, Dorset LEP has secured a total of £98.5 million for Dorset via the Local Growth Fund to bring together local, national and private sector funding to unlock and unblock key housing and employment sites, create more highly skilled jobs, and support economic growth.

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