Eden Project bosses hold 'positive' talks over government funding for £125m Morecambe scheme

Positive talks have been held with the government over the major plans to bring the Eden Project to Morecambe.

By Gayle Rouncivell
Friday, 25th February 2022, 2:33 pm

Eden Project International chief executive Dave Harland said during today's online community chat, organised by Eden, that hard work is continuing behind the scenes in the hope of making the project's predicted 2024 opening date.

And he thanked the Lancaster and Morecambe community for their support in the lead-up to the scheme being given the thumbs up last month by Lancaster City Council.

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.

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Eden bosses are aiming for a 2024 opening date.

The new attraction 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,

"Without that local support we would be nothing," he said. "We have always wanted to do something special in and around Morecambe and this [planning permission] takes us a significant step closer to our ambition to open in 2024.

"The next step is now we have got to make things happen. The work doesn't stop here. We have got a lot of work going on with our architects and design team and project managers and we are starting to look at how we are going to procure the works."

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The plans were approved by the city council last month.

Dave said the week after planning permission was granted, the team had a "positive" meeting with Michael Gove, appointed Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

Around £70m in government funding is being sought to push the scheme ahead, and the Eden boss said the Morecambe plans were their "number one priority".

"Having the planning permission in place has changed the dynamic of the discussions with government to a lot more positive," Dave said.

"Now we are waiting for some signs from the levelling up department on how we can work with the government."

Dave added that Morecambe MP David Morris is among those "really pushing" the scheme and said Eden bosses continued to be in regular contact with government chiefs.

"We are trying to work out how we can make this work and really drive the project forward to everyone's benefit," he added.

"We certainly won't take our foot off the gas. It's the number one priority for the Eden Project going forward.

"We are not resting on our laurels and we are not counting our chickens, but we are absolutely targeting a 2024 opening still, which is an ambitious and tight programme."

Dave added that Eden were looking for people in the local community to get involved in plans for a Big Lunch - a project between Eden and the National Lottery - to be held on the prom near the Midland to mark the Queen's Jubilee.

For more information, go online here.