The estimated cost of delivering the Eden North attraction in Morecambe is around £125m, up from an initial £85m, according to the developer’s funding request submitted to Whitehall this month.
Eden Project International has outlined its funding requirements for the leisure and education scheme in a detailed business case to the Government. The developer is seeking a mixture of private and public funds, it noted in a statement to media.
David Harland, chief executive, of Eden Project International, said the submission of the business case was a “major milestone” for a project that would “be transformative for Morecambe and the surrounding region”.
The developer unveiled its proposals for the project, to be built on a waterfront site at Morecambe Bay in Lancashire, in 2018. Eden Project North is to be an immersive visitor experience housed across a series of mussel shell-shaped domes, in a scheme designed by Grimshaw Architects.
Harland added: “The world has changed beyond measure this year and it is imperative as we come out of the pandemic that our collective focus is on a recovery that stimulates the economy, is environmentally forward looking and creates meaningful, green collar jobs.
“Our firm belief is that Eden Project North does all of these things.”
The 140-page business case was prepared in collaboration with Eden’s partners in the Morecambe project: Lancashire County Council, Lancaster City Council, Lancaster University and the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership.
The document states that Eden Project North could act as a key driver of the UK’s post-Covid economic recovery low-carbon agenda, and claims that it is a “shovel-ready” project with the potential to deliver significant economic and environmental benefits for Lancashire and the wider region.
Eden Project North is projected to attract around one million visitors a year and directly employ more than 400 people, according to the business case.
Additionally, the scheme, scheduled to complete in 2023, is projected to attract a visitor spend of more than £200m a year.
Eden Project International had initially intended to lodge a planning application with the local council this year but has since pushed this back until next year due to delays caused by the pandemic.
The Eden Project in Cornwall saw the redevelopment of a China clay pit into a leisure and education attraction comprising a series of biomes mimicking different environmental conditions across the globe and containing a large variety of plant species.
The Eden Project cost £141m to build and to date has welcomed more than 22 million visitors since opening in March 2001.
Eden Project North intends to focus on educating visitors on the marine habitat and ecology of the adjoining Morecambe Bay, among other aims.
There would be two main biomes: Above the Bay would be filled with plants and art installations, while Below the Bay would contain a series of immersive and dramatic theatrical experiences, according to Eden Project International.
The scheme would also include an outdoor arena for live music and performances.
Geoff Driver, leader of Lancashire County Council, said: “The council has long recognised the importance of Eden Project North and the huge benefits it could have not just for Morecambe and Lancashire, but for the North West.
“We believe this case shows that the project is shovel-ready and deserves to be recognised through funding by central Government.”
David Morris, MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale, the constituency in which Eden Project North would be located, said: “The Government has a levelling-up agenda for the North, and I can see no greater project than Eden to level up our part of the North West.
“Eden is tried and tested and already has a track record of turning public and private investment into a huge economic benefit for a region.”
Harland spoke at Place North West‘s Education Property Update event last month, detailing the proposed regenerative impact of the scheme on Morecambe and the wider area.