Local authority signs off Eden Project land transfer
Lancaster City Council has rubber-stamped the disposal of publicly owned land, subject to planning permission and funding being raised for the £125m attraction.
Eden Project North’s intended site, on Morecambe seafront, was formerly occupied by the Bubbles leisure complex and is adjacent to the Midland Hotel.
As part of the agreement between the council and Eden, as the project becomes established and visitor numbers reach an agreed level, a percentage of each ticket sold will be paid into a fund to be used for community projects.
Eden has also committed to a social value package covering the sourcing of supplies and services, along with jobs and training opportunities.
Lancaster and Eden Project International had hoped to secure £70m in government support to meet the majority of the project’s costs, but their hopes were dashed in March’s Budget.
Earlier this year, a leasing deal with an option to purchase had been agreed upon.
Cllr Caroline Jackson, leader of Lancaster City Council, said: “Eden Project North promises to be the most significant project in our district for a generation. It will provide huge benefits to our economy through a commitment to local purchasing and creation of good local jobs.
“I’m particularly pleased that our agreement with them includes the creation of a community fund, which will ensure the people of Morecambe directly benefit for generations to come.
David Harland, chief executive of Eden Project International, said: “This is a major milestone for Eden Project North and we are grateful to our friends at Lancaster City Council for their hard work in bringing this deal to fruition.
“This land agreement comes at an exciting moment for Eden Project North. We are still welcoming feedback from the community through our online consultation event and will be submitting the planning application for the project shortly.”
Harland said that dialogue with the government is ongoing regarding funding and that he hopes to report positively before year-end.
Eden Project International is working with Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, Lancaster University, Lancashire County Council and Lancaster City Council to deliver Eden Project North.
Public consultation has been running this summer and is due to close on 6 August, with a planning application to follow.
Although the timeline has slipped at various points, and costs have climbed, the partners still hope to deliver the scheme for a 2024 opening.