'Teessaurus' dinosaur park in Middlesbrough set for extinction

ONE of the region's most unusual -attractions is set to become extinct as a result of council cuts.

Teessaurus Park, a unique ten-acre site on the Riverside Park industrial estate in Middlesbrough, is well-loved by locals for its herd of giant steel dinosaurs.

An eight-foot high stegosaurus and her baby overlook the River Tees while a life-size triceratops towers nearby. Several more loom around the sculpture park, which opened more than 30 years ago.

The triceratops was commissioned by Middlesbrough Council as part of the Art to Landscape competition, organised by the Sunday Times and the Arts Council in 1979. Two baby triceratops were added shortly afterwards and from 1987 onwards, more were built by workers on a government Youth and Employment Training Scheme.

The park is now on the market as a development opportunity. The sale is part of Middlesbrough Council’s plans to raise money through a sell-off of its non-strategic assets. The town must make around £50m of savings over five years in order to plug the funding gap left by central government cuts following 2010’s Comprehensive Spending Review.

A document from the council says Teessaurus Park and other sites are being marketed for sale in order to “achieve a significant capital sum, promote job creation and develop prominent unused sites on the eastern approach to the town.”

The move to sell the park has sparked controversy among local residents.

A facebook site, ‘Save Our Dinosaur Park’, attracted almost 200 campaigners in less than 24 hours.

One user, Craig Harrison, posted to say: “The council can't get away with this. A lot of people use and enjoy it and it is a good surprise for people visiting the estate."

It is understood that when the sale happens, the dinosaurs will either be relocated to another part of the site or a new home will be found for them elsewhere.

Another of the town’s tourist attractions, Nature’s World in Acklam, has recently folded as a result of the tough economic climate.

A spokeswoman for Middlesbrough Council, who supported the project with grants, loans and low rents since its establishment in 1989, said they will work with the liquidator to seek the best possible outcome for the residents of Middlesbrough.

She added: “While we are saddened by the news that the Directors of Nature’s World have decided to go into liquidation, we fully understand why this difficult decision has been taken in the current climate.”

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