Educational charity ‘The Eden Project’ has been awarded £50 million in the second round of the UK government’s Levelling Up Fund which will create over 1000 new jobs supported in Lancashire.
The funding will help build the new Eden Project Morecambe in the Lancashire region.
The bid was submitted by Lancashire City Council, one of the Eden Project’s key partners on the Morecambe attraction, and was chosen as a recipient of the largest investment possible under the fund, earmarked for large-scale cultural regeneration projects.
As the lead for the partnership bid, Lancaster City Council will be the recipient of the funding and will work with partners to ensure it is allocated in accordance with Government requirements.
Eden Project Morecambe is the new official name for the project. It was previously known as Eden Project North.
Preparatory groundwork will now be undertaken on the site on the Morecambe seafront, a vital prelude to construction beginning.
The Eden Project team will ensure the community is kept informed about the construction schedule through its social media channels, the local media and a revamped series of community engagement events.
An expanded project delivery team will be created in preparation for the construction phase with details of the first round of recruitment to be announced soon.
Around 300 high-quality green jobs will be directly created by Eden Project Morecambe.
The £50m investment is half of the £100m needed to build the coastal-themed project.
The funding allows the project to move into its next phase and begin the process of finalising the remaining £50m from private and philanthropic sources identified as part of the bidding process.
Annual visitor numbers are projected to be 740,000 and additional revenue brought into local businesses due to Eden Project Morecambe is set to exceed the £50m government investment within months of the project opening.
Now that the Levelling Up Fund process has concluded, preparation for construction is due to start this year and the aim is for Eden Project Morecambe to be open to visitors by 2026.
Eden Project Morecambe is being delivered by the team behind the first Eden Project in Cornwall, alongside local partners Lancaster University, Lancaster City Council, Lancashire County Council and the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership.
It is one of the key initiatives in an expansion plan that will see Eden Projects built elsewhere in the UK and around the world.
Rob Chatwin, Group CEO of the Eden Project, welcomed today’s news. He said: “This is a historic moment for the town of Morecambe and the surrounding area and for the Eden Project and our partners.
“We are delighted that Eden Project Morecambe has been recognised as part of the Levelling Up Fund and we are incredibly grateful to the government, our partners, David Morris MP and the unique community of Morecambe for their wholehearted support.
“This is a ringing endorsement of the teamwork that has brought Eden Project Morecambe to this point. We will now continue to work hard with our partners to make this vision a reality.”
David Morris, MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale, said: “Five years of work has finally come to fruition and after lobbying four Prime Ministers and six chancellors and more meetings and debates in Parliament than I can count, I am absolutely delighted we have secured the funding for this project to go ahead.
“What started off as a dream has now become reality and this will secure prosperity in Morecambe for generations to come. This decision has quite literally changed Morecambe forever.”
Eden Project Morecambe will be situated on the central promenade of Morecambe, on the former site of the Bubbles leisure complex with the Grade II* listed Winter Gardens and Midland Hotel its near neighbours.