OPERATORS of zoological or botanical attractions are being invited to submit proposals for a new facility at Durley Chine.

Bournemouth council is keen to see a small-scale tourist attraction built on land behind the Durley Inn and is now inviting potential operators to bid for the rights to build and run it.

The attraction could not be any kind of aquarium as Bournemouth Oceanarium has an exclusive contract for Bournemouth seafront and is more likely to be a butterfly farm or something similar.

Cllr Rod Cooper, cabinet member for tourism, has previously expressed a desire to see a butterfly farm in the town, claiming it would be an ideal wet-weather attraction.

Last year, he told councillors they had already received expressions of interest from two potential operators with nearly 50 years experience of installing and operating butterfly farms.

And he added: “They believe that they will create, in their words, a ‘phenomenal farm to rival any in the world.’”

Bournemouth council would not make any financial contribution to the development and would expect to receive rent from any future attraction operators.

It is proposed the new attraction could be accompanied by a small local children’s playground and the Site of Special Scientific Interest Land to the north and east of the attraction could be grazed by goats.

But any new operator would only be allowed to include a very small catering offer within the attraction so as not to compete with the two catering facilities already at Durley Chine.