The Eden Project has received £1.2m from the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to fund the development work needed to prepare a planning application for Eden Project North in Morecambe.
The money from the LEP will fund the next stage of the design work, further developing the content of the project and conducting the environmental impact and sustainable transport work required for planning consent.
Eden aims to complete this work in time to submit a planning application next year (2021), with the project set to open to the public in 2024.
The LEP is one of four regional partners on Eden Project North, the others being Lancashire County Council, Lancaster City Council and Lancaster University.
The funding is part of the Lancashire Growth Deal. In the past three years, the LEP has secured £320m of Growth Deal investment from the Government’s Local Growth Fund. Growth Deal funding is designed to help improve and upgrade existing commercial infrastructure, kick-start new economic initiatives, and unlock additional private investment to drive further growth across the county.
Eden Project North will be a major new exemplar attraction in Morecambe that seeks to reimagine the British seaside resort for the 21st century.
The plan is for a year-round destination that combines indoor and outdoor experiences, connecting people with the internationally-significant natural environment of Morecambe Bay while also enhancing wellbeing.
The striking design of Eden Project North will complement the rich architectural heritage of Morecambe, typified by the project’s close neighbours, the Grade II* listed Midland Hotel and the Grade II* listed Winter Gardens. Eden continues to work closely with both, as well as the RNLI, whose Morecambe lifeboat station is just off the promenade by the proposed Eden site.
David Harland, Chief Executive of Eden Project International, said: “We are hugely grateful to the LEP for their longstanding support of our Eden Project North vision. This generous funding is the latest manifestation of our close and enduring working relationship and we look forward to progressing the planning application, bringing Eden Project North ever closer to reality.”
Steve Fogg, Chair of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, said: ”The LEP is delighted it is able to provide £1.2m to Eden Project North to help with work to submit the planning application. If successful, Eden Project North will provide immense economic benefits to Lancashire and the wider region.
“Eden is an international brand which will not only attract visitors to the area, but will create significant job opportunities directly and indirectly in our local supply chains. The project will inject a much-needed boost in the confidence of some of our key sectors which have been adversely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and we are pleased we are able to invest some of our growth deal funding to help ensure this project happens in Lancashire.”
A recently-submitted business case to the Government presented Eden Project North as a key driver of the UK’s post-Covid green recovery. The report, which made the case for £70m of Government funding for the project, showed that it is a “shovel-ready” project which would deliver significant economic, environmental and social benefits for Lancashire and the wider North West region, as well as contributing to the wider levelling-up agenda and the Government’s 25-year Environment Plan.
Eden Project North is projected to attract around one million visitors a year and directly employ more than 400 people. The business case estimates a visitor spend of more than £200m per year in the region (not including money spent at Eden Project North) which would support an additional 1,500 jobs.
In total, the business case projects that the eventual cost of Eden Project North will be £125m. Eden is seeking a mixture of private and public funds to make up the difference beyond any central Government funding.
Eden Project North is being delivered by the team behind the first Eden Project in Cornwall and is one of the key projects in Eden’s plans to expand around the UK and the world.