Northern leaders urge government to fund Morecambe's Eden Project North

A letter signed by nearly 100 leaders, academics and educators urging the government to provide funding for Eden Project North in its forthcoming Budget has been sent to the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer.

The letter lays out the economic, environmental and social benefits the project will bring to Morecambe and the surrounding area and points out Eden’s track record in delivering more than £2bn of economic impact in the South West since the opening of the first Eden Project in Cornwall.

It describes the project, which will be a major new exemplar attraction that seeks to reimagine the British seaside resort for the 21st century, as “a once in a generation opportunity…that dramatically delivers on the Government’s levelling up policy agenda, and the trust and faith that the people of the North of England have placed in change.”

Making the case for Government investment, the letter continues: “Government funding is critical to the success of the project and will act as a catalyst to provide further confidence for commercial investment into the scheme.

An artist's impression of the proposed Eden Project North in Morecambe

“As the project is ‘shovel ready’ (with a fast-track design and build programme), we can be on site mid-way through this year with immediate gains demonstrating hope, optimism and the green shoots of recovery from Covid-19.

“We believe the benefits for employment, opportunity and investment are clear to see.

"They will ensure a positive and lasting legacy, not just for Morecambe but also for Lancashire and the North.”

David Harland, Chief Executive of Eden Project International, said: “We’re heartened to have received such passionate support from such a wide variety of Northern leaders and hope that the Government can see that Eden Project North will be enormously beneficial for the region.

Eden Project North proposals from above.

“It is clear to everyone involved in this project that the community is completely behind Eden Project North and we know that they are as determined as us to make a success of this vision.

“We urge the Prime Minister and Chancellor to support Eden Project North in the Budget next week.”

Eden, which is working on the Morecambe project with partners Lancaster University, Lancaster City Council, Lancashire County Council and the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, has submitted a business case to the Government.

The 140-page document makes the case for £70m of Government investment in Eden Project North.

The report presents Eden Project North as a key driver of the UK’s post-Covid green recovery and shows 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.

Eden Project North says the report, is poised to contribute to the UK’s carbon net zero and green jobs targets, both directly through its operations and through green education programmes delivered with Lancaster University.

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.

The team has a proven track record of delivering regeneration projects, with Eden in Cornwall transforming a former china clay pit, which was sterile, unstable and had no soil, into the world-class destination it is today.

Eden in Cornwall cost £141m to build and to date has welcomed more than 22 million visitors since opening in 2001. In recent years, it has continued to attract around 1m visitors a year.

Here is the full list of signatories to the letter:

Co-signatories and Supporters to the Eden Project Letter

Rt. Hon. Alan Milburn, Chancellor, Lancaster University

Rt. Hon. The Lord Shuttleworth, Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire

Rt. Hon. The Lord Cavendish of Furness

Rt. Hon. The Lord Inglewood

Rt. Hon. The Baroness Valentine

Rt. Hon. The Lord Judd

Rt. Hon. The Baroness Ruth Henig

Rt. Hon. The Lord Liddle

Mr Tim Farron MP

Mr Wayne Hemingway MBE

Mr Wolfgang Buttress

Academic

Professor Andy Schofield, Vice Chancellor, Lancaster University

Professor Steve Bradley, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Lancaster University

Professor Dame Sue Black, Pro Vice Chancellor, Lancaster University

Mr Oliver Robinson, President, Lancaster University Student Union

Dr John Cater, Vice Chancellor, Edgehill University

Mr Wes Johnson, Principal, Lancaster & Morecambe College

Mr Andrew Wren, Principal, Furness College

Mr Fazal Dad, Principal, Blackburn College

Professor Graham Baldwin, Vice Chancellor, University of Central Lancashire

Professor Vanessa Toulmin, Chair of Morecambe Winter Gardens Preservation Trust

Local Authority & LEP

Councillor Mr Geoff Driver, Leader, Lancashire County Council

Ms Angie Ridgwell, Chief Executive, Lancashire County Council

Mr Andrew Barrow, Lancashire County Council

Councillor Dr Erica Lewis, Leader, Lancaster City Council

Mr Kieran Keane, Chief Executive, Lancaster City Council

Mrs Sam Plum, Chief Executive, Barrow Borough Council

Councillor Giles Archibald, Leader, South Lakeland District Council

Mr Lawrence Conway, Chief Executive, South Lakeland District Council

Mr David Taylor CBE, DL, Interim Chair. Lancashire Enterprise Partnership

Ms Sarah Kemp, CEO, Lancashire Enterprise Partnership

Schools – Headteachers, teachers and pupils

Ms Linda Pye, Ryelands Primary and Nursery School

Mrs Jo Easthope, Overton St Helen’s Church of England Primary School

Mrs Kirsty Sutton, Headteacher, Lancaster Road Primary School

Mr Adrian Ibison, Carnforth Community Primary School

Ms Allison Hickson, Sandylands Community Primary School

Ms Jo Williams, Wilson’s Endowed CE Primary School, Over Kellet

Ms Joy Ingram, Arkholme Church of England Primary School

Mr Peter Harrison, St Mary’s Catholic Primary School

Mrs Susan Penney, Torrisholme Primary School

Mrs Louise Shaw MA EYP, Manager, Little Nippers and Nippers Nursery

Mrs Fiona Ip, Executive Headteacher, Mellin St Wilfrid Church of England Primary School

Mrs Carol Hind, St Patrick’s catholic Primary School

Mrs Catherine Prince, Carnforth Christ Church CE Primary School

Mrs Alison Aylott, Scotforth St Paul’s Church of England Primary and Nursery School

Mrs Jo Banks, Bowerham Primary and Nursery School

Mrs Nicola Holt, The Cathedral Catholic Primary School

Mrs Katie Walsh, Silverdale St John’s CE Primary School

Mr Keith Wright, Westgate Primary School

Mrs Cathy Thomas, Ellel St Johns Church of England Primary School

Mr John Ross, Greatwood Primary School

Mrs Victoria Bould, Poulton-le-Sands Church of England Primary School

Mrs Alison Dodd, Stepping Stones Short Stay School

Mrs Anna Dootson, Morecambe Road School

Mrs Sharon Cliff, West End Primary School

Mr Daniel Hargreaves, Bolton-le-Sands Church of England primary School

Mr Ian Gittins, Caton St Paul’s Church of England Primary School

Mrs Liz Kendall, Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Primary School, Carnforth

Mr Kevin Kendall, Grosvenor Park Primary School

Mr Paul Bowden, Slyne-with-Hest St Luke’s Church of England Primary School

Miss Fiona Richardson, Quernmore Church of England VC Primary School

Ms Siobhan Collingwood, Morecambe Bay Community Primary School

Ms Ceri Hamer, Head of School, Trumacar Nursery and Community primary School

Mrs Amy Hughes Sykes, Nature-based educator, The Secret Garden Learning

Mrs Helen O’Hagan, Director, Sandcastles Children’s Nursery & Beach School

Civic

Councillor Malcolm Thomas, Mayor of Lancaster

Mrs Catherine Penny DL, High Sheriff of Lancashire

Mrs Pam Barker, Constable of Lancaster Castle

Mr Yak Patel, CEO, Lancaster District Community and Voluntary Solutions

Mrs Sue McGraw, Chief Executive, St. John’s Hospice

Business

Mr John Roberts, Founder & CEO, AO

Dr Annette Bramley, Director, N8 Research Partnership

Ms Sarah Longlands, Director, IPPR North

Mr Mal Garnett, President, Lancaster District Chamber of Commerce

Mr Nick Wilkinson, Chair of Lancaster Business Improvement District

Mr Tony Johnson, Manager, Lancaster Business Improvement District

Mr John O’Neill, Manager, Morecambe Business Improvement District

Ms Jenny Natusch, Founder, Escape2Make

Mr Jolyon Brewis, Partner, Grimshaw Architects

Mr Paul May, Executive Director, Tivandi Ltd

Mr David Dawson, Trustee and Secretary, Save the Grange Lido Ltd

Mr Phil Bradby, Chair, Save the Grange Lido Ltd

Health

Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, Director of Public Health, Lancashire County Council

Dr Amanda Doyle OBE, Chief Officer ICS, Lancashire and South Cumbria

Dr Andy Knox, Director of Population Health for Morecambe