THE Isle of Wight Council has 'abandoned Sandown', a Conservative councillor claimed in a passionate speech at a meeting last night (Tuesday).

The local authority plans to move a £33 million so-called 'Disneyland opportunity' to another location, prompting 'furious' Sandown South councillor Ian Ward to say the leading Alliance administration 'did not care' about the town, its 'derelict hotels and struggling High Street and seafront.'

At yesterday's Corporate Scrutiny Committee meeting, leading councillors said the dinosaur park proposal had gone 'stagnant' and risked putting a large part of Culver Parade 'behind a paywall'.

The previous Conservative administration had proposed a dinosaur-themed amusement park working with Dinosaurier-Park International, it was officially confirmed last night.

Now, Alliance cabinet members will consider an alternative regeneration programme for Culver Parade and a new and different site for the amusement park, which the authority insists it remains committed to.

At the meeting, Cllr Ward said the 'major, much-needed' regeneration project would have helped solve Sandown's problems and he repeatedly asked 'why' the Dinosaurier proposal was not being considered further for the town.

He said a report, which will be considered by the cabinet tomorrow (Thursday), 'hid the benefits' of the proposal, "failing at the first hurdle" of the administration's promise to be open and transparent.

Cabinet member for heritage, Cllr Jonathan Bacon, said it was simply not the case that the investment had been abandoned and described it as opening up the possibility of investment elsewhere.

Cllr Bacon said the European investors behind Dinosaurier-Park International were on the point of walking away.

The tender process originally launched in 2018 and was further held up in June this year, when a report was not presented to the Isle of Wight Council as expected.

Cllr Bacon said the plans for Sandown were like trying to 'fit a square peg in a round hole' and what the investors wanted could not be provided without serious damage to other heritage assets.

Cllr Julie Jones-Evans, cabinet member for regeneration, spoke to try to reassure Cllr Ward about the council's commitment to Sandown.

She said 'what was on the table was never going to work' and a new approach to the Culver Parade regeneration would be more appropriate for the area.

One of the options being presented to councillors is an eco-tourism approach, reflecting the Island's Biopshere status.

Cllr Richard Quigley said the problems could be discussed further, at every future corporate scrutiny committee meeting, until a solution was found.

Cabinet will formally decide on what happens to Culver Parade and the dinosaur park plan when it meets tomorrow evening Thursday (November 11), at 5pm.