QUESTIONS have been asked about the future of Sandown's Dinosaur Isle museum, and whether the Isle of Wight Council will ensure its accredited status remains.

Dr Jeremy Lockwood, chair of the new Dinosaur Isle Group, said concerns had been expressed by universities, other museums and people who had donated fossils to the collection, about the loss of science if the museum loses its accreditation under plans to regenerate the area.

Plans have been unveiled aiming to make Sandown the dinosaur capital of Britain - through a partnership between European company Dinosaurier-Park International, which owns dinosaur attractions in Portugal and Germany, and an Island residents' association called Dinosaur Isle Group.

A statement from Dinosaur Isle Group and Dinosaurier-Park International said the new attraction would bring together a new museum, dinosaur park and science research facility to display and preserve the Island's heritage and that all it needed was to get approval from the Isle of Wight Council.

Asking a question at last night's (Thursday) Isle of Wight Council meeting, Dr Lockwood sought reassurance from the new administration at County Hall.

Museum accreditation is awarded by the Arts Council and ensures those that have it are sustainable, focused and trusted organisations, providing visitors with a great experience.

Speaking at the meeting, cabinet member for heritage, Cllr Jonathan Bacon confirmed the accredited status would be maintained long-term and that any commercial partner would be subject to such a requirement.

The Isle of Wight Council started a tendering process in 2019 to find a commercial partner for the museum, to expand its appeal and kickstart the wider regeneration of the Bay area.

Discussions with a potential investor - who has not been named - were paused, due to Covid-19, but earlier this year a decision was made by the council to review the tendering proposals to see if more could be achieved through the regeneration project.

Council officers will report back on the investment opportunities in due course.