Funding boost for Eden Project North

The Lancashire Enterprise Partnership has committed £1.2m to help cover costs as a planning application is progressed for the Morecambe attraction.

The investment from the LEP will fund the next stage of 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 in 2021, with the £125m project aiming for an opening date of 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.

Eden Project North is intended to be 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 project’s partners said they are working closely with listed neighbours, the Midland Hotel and Winter Gardens, along with 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.”

Harland last month told Place North West that the destination could play a big part in the Government’s levelling-up agenda.

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.”

Rachel McQueen, chief executive of Marketing Lancashire, added: “This commitment of funds from the LEP is another great step forward for an initiative will not only create thousands of jobs and attract millions of visitors but will provide general and mental health improvements to the community and to visitors.”

A business case was recently submitted to Government presenting Eden Project North as a key driver of the UK’s post-Covid green recovery, making the case for £70m of Government funding for what it says is an oven-ready project that will not only contribute to levelling-up bit help the Government’s 25-year Environment Plan. Private and public funding is being targeted to make up the remainder of the cost.

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