Eden bosses 'feeling positive' ahead of £50m government funding bid for Morecambe project

A bid for £50m in government funding towards making Eden North in Morecambe a reality is expected to be submitted by July.

By Gayle Rouncivell
Friday, 22nd April 2022, 2:57 pm
Updated Friday, 22nd April 2022, 2:58 pm

Eden boss Dave Harland said during an online public meeting today, Friday, that work was ongoing behind the scenes to apply for cultural bid funding of £50m through the government's Levelling Up scheme. This must be submitted by July 4.

"There's a huge amount of work going on at the moment in the background to put a bid together," he said.

"We need to cross every 'T' and dot every 'I' so there's no excuse for this not to become a reality for Morecambe."

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An artist's impression of how Eden North might look.

Work is also taking place on the design of the site, which will be on Morecambe promenade near the Midland Hotel.

"It feels pretty good," Dave added. "There's just a whole heap of work to do but I hope we are getting the idea across that we are feeling positive about it."

The Eden Project North was given planning permission in January.

Hundreds of jobs are expected to be created with the new seafront venue, which is linked to the Eden Project in Cornwall but will be distinctly focused on Morecambe Bay.

It will combine indoor and outdoor attractions, themed around Morecambe Bay, and will include plants, art and interactive exhibits, a concert arena for live music events, three cafe/restaurants and a visitor centre.

The new attraAction will have three main areas and should be able to hold up to 4,000 visitors a day. It is expected to attract an average of 750,000 customers each year.

The Eden team are keen to work with local hospitality and entertainment leaders to ensure visitors have the opportunity to enjoy a full experience of all that the area has to offer.

"Arts and entertainment are how we bring the place to life," Dave said. "Our experience in Cornwall is quite important on this because while we are going to create something stunningly beautiful, what happens around the site and in Morecambe is also important.

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"Despite having glorious buildings, if that's all that's there then people won't come back time and time again.

"Over the past 20 years we have run a series of programmes of events. Otherwise you become like a theatre that's showing the same show year after year."

Past events at the Eden Project in Cornwall have included Halloween, Easter and Christmas events, an Eden Arts Fenstival, space-themed events and the Eden Sessions rock gigs.

Mark Prada, chair of Bay Tourism, spoke during the meeting to outline the numerous events that take place around the region, and said they could all help attract visitors to stay, in addition to Eden.

There are more than 350 events being held in Morecambe Bay in 2022, he said.

"There's a lot within a 20-30 mile radius to complement Eden and keep people coming again and again," he added.

Stuart Michaels, founder of Morecambe Music Festival, backed this up.

This year more than 180 acts across verious genres will perform during the three-day festival in July.

Past festivals have attracted 18-22,000 visitors from the local area and further afield.

"To have the chance to work with Eden would be fantastic for the area,” Stuart said.