A west Dorset village has been overlooked as the potential home for an all-new museum in favour of another location in the county.

Charmouth was once considered as a location for a new Jurassic Coast museum and visitor centre, however, further along the coast, Weymouth is deemed more viable.

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Charmouth BeachCharmouth Beach (Image: Sonia Claire Smith)

The proposal for a new museum and centre in Weymouth seeks to increase the access to and long-term security for fossils from the Jurassic Coast, which are currently held in private collections.

Although plans have been underway for just under a year to bring a new museum to Weymouth, they are now reaching the final stages of approval following the news that consultancy firm IPW has completed the initial feasibility study.

The Jurassic Coast is a 95-mile long stretch of coastline covering Dorset and part of East Devon. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site recognised for its outstanding rocks, fossils and landforms.

After exploring the development opportunity of the seaside town, the Jurassic Coast Trust (JCT) which is behind the new plans has revealed that construction works could get underway within a two-year period and at an estimated cost of £5 million.

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Weymouth BeachWeymouth Beach (Image: Ian Douglas Julian)

Luckily Charmouth is already home to the brilliant Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre which is currently home to an ammonite that featured at the beginning of the recent David Attenborough and the Giant Sea Monster documentary.

In response to Charmouth being overlooked for a new museum, Ali Ferris, Earth Marine and Environment Manager at Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre, said: "It is quite complicated, it has long been suggested that there should be a museum in the vicinity of Charmouth and Lyme Regis.

"The problem has always been where would you put it and the Jurassic Coast Trust did a feasibility study, in the end I think being in Weymouth in the middle of the Jurassic Coast was what they went with.

"It is understandable, they want it in the best location where it would attract the most visitors and it probably makes the most sense being in a seaside town with lots of holidaymakers who could come and visit rather than a harder-to-reach location on the coast.

"People will still want something in this area and I am sure it is something that will still be looked at in the future."

Since November 2023, Chief Executive of the JCT, Lucy Culkin, has attended several strategic meetings to express an interest in the  Weymouth site.

Ms Culkin has met with a group of Weymouth stakeholders, Dorset Council councillors and strategic leads for arts and culture strategy as well as local business leaders, and so far has found that ‘the potential for a new museum and centre has received general support, but with acknowledgement that it is a rapid and unexpected development in the project.’