Eden Project North Grimshaw
Grimshaw Architects designed the proposed scheme at Morecambe Bay

Eden and Lancaster Uni strike partnership deal

Sarah Townsend

The agreement will see the two organisations work on projects connected to the £85m Eden Project North in Morecambe, a planning application for which is expected to be submitted by early next year.

Eden Project International, the company leading on the plans for a regional version of the Eden Project leisure attraction in Cornwall, has been working with Lancaster University and other local partners since the scheme was unveiled in 2015, and the university is one of its funding partners.

Last month, university professor Robert Barratt was appointed as chair of education and engagement at Eden Project North.

The memorandum of understanding signed this week marks the start of closer collaboration between the two organisations, according to a joint statement.

In particular, the parties will explore special projects in the fields of sustainability, environment and green energy, and health and wellbeing, to improve the offer being planned for Eden Project North, the statement said.

Giving the university a physical presence on the site in Morecambe is also being discussed.

David Harland, chief executive of Eden Project International, said: “[Lancaster University’s] insight was instrumental in getting this project off the ground and the university also provided vital funding for the early concept work.

“We are now strengthening our relationship with the university and look forward to working closely with them on Eden Project North and other projects beyond.”

Dame Sue Black, Lancaster University’s pro vice-chancellor for engagement, added: “Universities have a civic responsibility to support the places where they are based and to help to find ways to address some of the most pressing problems. These range from helping local businesses to grow, to boosting the health of local people and improving education.

“Our partnership with Eden strengthens our position to tackle these issues.”

The statement added that work on Eden Project North has continued during lockdown and the team is hopeful of still being able to open in 2023 as planned.

Proposed to be built on a waterfront site at Morecambe Bay, the scheme would provide an immersive visitor experience housed across a series of mussel shell-shaped domes, including lidos, gardens, performance spaces and observatories. The scheme has been designed by Grimshaw Architects.

A planning application was originally targeted for mid-2020, but Harland told Place North West in May it was more likely to appear at the end of the year or start of 2021.



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Morecambe Bay really is a beauty; was there last week and saw the town in a new light. Morecambe has a lot of character. The architecture around the bay is really quite interesting from the art deco to the victoriana with its old winter gardens and eclectic mix of cafés and stone-built hotels. Lancaster as a city has always fascinated me. Its post-72 boundary stretches to Silverdale and the edge if Kirby Lonsdale as well as to Morecambe. Good to see the university involved in this exciting project.

By Red Squirrel