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.
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“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.
“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
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
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
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
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