Eden Project boss promises new ‘heyday’ for Morecambe as local residents gather for special summit meeting

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Around 200 people attended a Morecambe Summit at the Winter Gardens this afternoon, Tuesday, to have their say on how the Eden Project will affect the future of the local area.

Eden Project boss Si Bellamy pledged to “dream big” and work with the community to build a visitor attraction to transform the town and wider area.

In response to widespread interest from the community, Lancaster City Council organised the event to allow people to put forward their views.

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Those attending heard from speakers involved in the scheme, as well as having the opportunity to discuss matters of importance to residents.

A packed Winter Gardens for the Morecambe Summit.A packed Winter Gardens for the Morecambe Summit.
A packed Winter Gardens for the Morecambe Summit.

Subjects on the table were transport, planning & regeneration, community & health, young people, housing, the environment, the economy, culture and education & skills.

Views were collected on how people thought the next five years would affect these discussion areas, and what key changes there might be.

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Speaking at the summit, Si Bellamy, executive director of Eden Project, said he welcomed seeing so many people who wanted to make a difference in their town.

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An artist's impression of how Eden Project Morecambe will look.An artist's impression of how Eden Project Morecambe will look.
An artist's impression of how Eden Project Morecambe will look.

"We wouldn't have got this far without the consent of the community," he said. "But we have to keep working and people's views are very important to ensure Eden project is fully formed and all partners are working together.

"Eden has the ability to amplify what's already here - to dial things up.

"But that's not for us to decide - that's about a partnership with the community and working to build a foundation for success.

"This is a transformation programme - building a visitor attraction of the future.

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Eden Project boss Si Bellamy speaking at the summit.Eden Project boss Si Bellamy speaking at the summit.
Eden Project boss Si Bellamy speaking at the summit.

"Dreaming big is in our DNA - let's make another heyday for Morecambe."

Sarah Kemp from Lancaster University said the Eden Project provided "help with genuine recovery for the economy" and would be a catalyst for further improvements in areas such as transport.

"This is a flagship project of the government's Levelling-Up," she said.

"It's often the rural and coastal towns that get left behind so this is a real opportunity for Morecambe on many levels, and will be a real draw for the area."

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Afterwards, Mark Davies, chief executive of Lancaster City Council, said: “Today was just the start of the conversation.

“We know that in conjunction with the actual building of Eden, it is really important to consider other aspects which we need to address in Morecambe to fully gain the benefits of the Eden Project.

“The co-design of Morecambe can only happen with all stakeholders. So, we will be gathering the responses from our first event and planning to host further conversation events like this, so that as many people as possible can have their say on shaping the future of Morecambe.”

Council leader Coun Caroline Jackson said: “Change is inevitable but that can bring uneasiness about the future and so we felt it was important to give people a space to discuss and share their views with us.

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“It was wonderful to see so many people turning out and hearing the vibrant discussions around hopes and fears, as well as so many good ideas being brought to the tables about how Morecambe could be shaped in the coming years.”

Future events will be announced, but residents can also have their say via the city council’s consultation portal https://keepconnected.lancaster.gov.uk/morecambe-summit