Eden Project seeks funds for Morecambe attraction after positive feasibility study

David Harland, CEO of Eden International, and David Morris MP at the Eden Project in Cornwall.
David Harland, CEO of Eden International, and David Morris MP at the Eden Project in Cornwall.

Plans to bring the Eden Project to Morecambe have taken a step forward after studies showed the scheme was viable.

The company had announced earlier this year it was in talks to bring the attraction to Morecambe.

Eden Project has now said it will open a version of its Cornish visitor attraction after completing a feasibility study.

And it is now looking for funding and support to move the project on.

Simon Bellamy, head of Eden Project International, said the vision is to “re-imagine what the 21st century seaside resort could look like”.

He said it will be different from the Cornish site.

“The Eden Project in Cornwall is about the connection with plants, this is about the connection with this wonderful environment here in Morecambe, the bay,” he said.

The Eden Project opened near St Austell in Cornwall in 2001.

It had more than one million visitors in 2017, according to the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions.

Eden Project International Limited had been working with Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Lancaster University, Lancashire County Council and Lancaster City Council to examine the viability and feasibility of creating an Eden experience in Morecambe Bay.

Coun Eileen Blamire, leader of Lancaster City Council, said: “Eden’s big and exciting and plans have the potential to be a real game changer for Morecambe, for Lancashire and for the whole region, transforming the economy, raising prosperity and creating new jobs.

“This would be a really significant development complementing and boosting the council’s own regeneration plans to develop employment sites alongside the Bay Gateway and new support for local businesses. It’s clear that Morecambe is on the cusp of a renaissance.

“The city council backs these exciting plans 100 per cent, and while it will be quite a journey to make the vision a reality, it will do all it can to support Eden and our shared vision of creating a world renowned attraction and educational facility and the substantial economic prospect it brings with it.”

Rachel McQueen, chief executive of Marketing Lancashire, said: “Following the positive findings of an LEP-led feasibility study into the proposals, the news that all the partners behind the Eden North project are keen to go ahead with plans for a major global attraction in Morecambe, is very welcome.

“This will involve significant investment in creating a world class visitor attraction and research centre in the county, which would support regeneration, education and job creation locally and throughout the county, and raise the profile of Lancashire nationally and internationally.”

Andrew Atherton, deputy vice-chancellor of Lancaster University, said it would be both a regeneration project and a tourist attraction.

“Lancaster University is excited about the prospect of creating an Eden North in Morecambe,” he said.

“Along with our partners in the local community and north west, we believe it can become a major attraction and resource that will attract visitors and users nationally and internationally.

“As one of the UK’s leading universities, with some of the best research and teaching available, we are focused on establishing a high quality education and research offer in Eden North.

“As a member of the local community, the university is confident that Eden North will bring regeneration and prosperity to Morecambe and its surrounds.

“This project is a game changer, and will have a hugely positive impact.”

County Coun Geoff Driver, leader of Lancashire County Council, said: “The Bay Gateway, which was created by the county council, has opened up commercial opportunities for Morecambe and Heysham.

“The road has already reduced congestion in key areas and we knew that it would also bring long-term economic gains and development opportunities thanks to improved access to the Heysham peninsula.

“We’re working with other organisations as part of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership to open up new opportunities.

“The plans for Eden North are still at a very early stage, but have great potential to create a high-quality visitor attraction that would give a significant boost to the local economy.”