A letter signed by nearly 100 leaders, academics and educators urging the Government to provide funding for Eden Project North in its forthcoming Budget has been sent to the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer.
The letter lays out the economic, environmental and social benefits the project will bring to Morecambe in Lancashire and the surrounding area and points out Eden’s track record in delivering more than £2bn of economic impact in the South West since the opening of the first Eden Project in Cornwall.
It describes the project, which will be a major new exemplar attraction that seeks to reimagine the British seaside resort for the 21st century, as “a once in a generation opportunity…that dramatically delivers on the Government’s levelling up policy agenda, and the trust and faith that the people of the North of England have placed in change.”
Making the case for Government investment, the letter continues: “Government funding is critical to the success of the project and will act as a catalyst to provide further confidence for commercial investment into the scheme.
“As the project is ‘shovel ready’ (with a fast-track design and build programme), we can be on site mid-way through this year with immediate gains demonstrating hope, optimism and the green shoots of recovery from Covid-19.
“We believe the benefits for employment, opportunity and investment are clear to see. They will ensure a positive and lasting legacy, not just for Morecambe but also for Lancashire and the North.”
David Harland, Chief Executive of Eden Project International, said: “We’re heartened to have received such passionate support from such a wide variety of Northern leaders and hope that the Government can see that Eden Project North will be enormously beneficial for the region.
“It is clear to everyone involved in this project that the community is completely behind Eden Project North and we know that they are as determined as us to make a success of this vision.
“We urge the Prime Minister and Chancellor to support Eden Project North in the Budget next week.”
Eden, which is working on the Morecambe project with partners Lancaster University, Lancaster City Council, Lancashire County Council and the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, has submitted a business case to the Government.
The 140-page document makes the case for £70m of Government investment in Eden Project North.
The report presents Eden Project North as a key driver of the UK’s post-Covid green recovery and shows that it is a “shovel-ready” project which would deliver significant economic, environmental and social benefits for Lancashire and the wider North West region, as well as contributing to the wider levelling-up agenda and the Government’s 25-year Environment Plan.
Eden Project North is projected to attract around one million visitors a year and directly employ more than 400 people. The business case estimates a visitor spend of more than £200m per year in the region (not including money spent at Eden Project North) which would support an additional 1,500 jobs.
Eden Project North, says the report, is poised to contribute to the UK’s carbon net zero and green jobs targets, both directly through its operations and through green education programmes delivered with Lancaster University.
In total, the business case projects that the eventual cost of Eden Project North will be £125m. Eden is seeking a mixture of private and public funds to make up the difference beyond any central Government funding.
Eden Project North is being delivered by the team behind the first Eden Project in Cornwall and is one of the key projects in Eden’s plans to expand around the UK and the world.
The team has a proven track record of delivering regeneration projects, with Eden in Cornwall transforming a former china clay pit, which was sterile, unstable and had no soil, into the world-class destination it is today.
Eden in Cornwall cost £141m to build and to date has welcomed more than 22 million visitors since opening in 2001. In recent years, it has continued to attract around 1m visitors a year.