Eden bosses hope for early Christmas present as latest images are released of how Morecambe scheme could look
Eden Project bosses hope Lancaster councillors will give everyone an early Christmas present by giving the thumbs up to their £125m Morecambe plans just days before the festive season.
Eden Project CEO David Harland said in a public Zoom call today, Friday, that he hoped the proposals would go before a planning committee on December 23.
And the team has promised that Eden North will transform Morecambe into a "21st Century seaside town" by acting as a stimulus to drive further investment.
The scheme was officially submitted to the city council earlier this month.
"The team has worked incredibly hard and it was a real collective effort which tried to reflect some of the feedback we got in the consultations," he said.
"It's a genuinely exciting moment to put the plans in."
Mr Harland added that Eden will continue to lobby government in terms of suitable grant funding - with former Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove the new Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government.
Eden planning chief Dan Jackson said if planning permission went to schedule, it is likely that contractors would be appointed in summer 2022, with a detailed design finalised shortly afterwards.
Official opening of the attraction is due to be summer 2024.
New images of how Eden North might look have now been released as part of the planning application, and Mr Jackson said many areas of consideration went into drawing it up, including the heritage and historic environment of the site, looking at traffic and transport, nature conservation, energy and sustainability, air quality, geology and noise assessments.
The shell 'domes' within the site would be built in timber and covered in a flexible transparent membrane with integrated solar cells.
The four shells – the Rhythm Machine, the Bay Glade, the Bay Hall and the Natural Observatory – would be set in a 'dunescape' of landscaped roofing planted with coastal vegetation.
Surrounding them would be a collection of outdoor gardens, designed to reflect the flora, geology and rhythms of the unique coastal environment.
These include the Rhythm Garden, which reimagines the existing Bay Arena, and the Tide Garden, with beds spiralling down towards a tidal pool
"Eden North will transform Morecambe into a 21st Century seaside town," the Eden team promised. "This project will transform Morecambe and the wider area."
Mr Harland added that there would be "economic, social and environmental enhancement" to the area.
And the use of local business people and working in conjunction with local businesses moving forward was reiterated, with up to 400 jobs set to be created.
"We will be looking to only buy locally, and there will be jobs within the local area," he said. "We hope that by creating this location it will encourage others to come in and invest in the area.
"That's how you really drive economic activity. Eden can act as a stimulus to the area."
Around one million visitors are expected to visit the site every year and visitor spend outside of Eden Project North in the local economy is estimated at more than £200m per year, supporting an additional 1,500 jobs.