The group A Voice for Lewes has revealed more details of its vision for a new tourist attraction.
It would have a dinosaurs theme and be sited at the western end of Lewes to attract more visitors to that area.
The town is becoming more dependent on the tourist every day, said A Voice for Lewes, and there is much on offer, from the Norman castle to Priory Park and from Southover Grange to Anne of Cleves House – but all attracting the same kind of tourist.
“If the town is to fulfil its new role as gateway to the eastern end of the National Park and help to conserve its own heritage, then Lewes desperately needs to offer somewhere different to visit for people who’ve had their fill of castles and stately homes,” the group said.
“And while many Lewes die-hard traditionalists may be horrified to even countenance the thought, we – A Voice for Lewes – believe the time is right to invest in at least one significant tourist venture that would appeal to children and all adults – not just those who enjoy looking at historic buildings. A venture sited at the western end of the town, where the tourists never go.”
Dinosaurs would be a tribute to Lewes man Dr Gideon Mantell, discoverer of the first fossilised remains of an Iguanodon in 1822. He started a craze for the creatures that is a strong as ever nearly 200 years later.
A Voice for Lewes continued: “Where better to create a tourist attraction dedicated to the long extinct, but hugely successful reptiles that ruled the earth for 150 million years?
“Mantell Park would not be just another garden with the odd fibreglass monster pathetically growling at an unconcerned public as it hurried past. It would be a fully interactive, educational experience employing the same technologies that made Jurassic Park one of the most successful films ever.”
The group asked: “Is Mantell Park just another dream? Or is it a dream that could bring prosperity back to the western end of Lewes?”
It is asking for views from members of the public and can be contacted at 98a Queens Road, Lewes BN7 2JQ.
It said there was a time when Lewes could rely on Government hand-outs to help conserve and protect its historic buildings, the ancient twittens, all the things residents enjoy and bring visitors to the town to spend locally.
“But those days are long gone. Today Lewes has to fend for itself. Council Tax helps, of course, but our local authority has many other calls on its cash, as we all know.
“The plain truth is that Lewes becomes more dependent on the tourist every day. We need the tourist to help preserve our heritage – the very thing that many tourists come to see.”