A former Lancaster University student’s plans to create the North’s equivalent to the Eden Project in the local town of Morecambe has been given the green light for a feasibility study that will examine the possibility of constructing the ‘Eden Project North’.
Lancaster Environment Centre graduate, Ian Hughes, originally began to design a similar project for Morecambe in April 2013, which quickly developed into a detailed proposal which was presented to University leaders.
The Eden Project, a visitor attraction in Cornwall, is a botanical garden contained in two biomes which are home to the largest rainforest in captivity. Visitors to the attraction can enjoy places to learn, play, eat, drink, and even experience England’s longest and fastest zip wire, the ‘Sky Wire.’
Project executives are working alongside the University, Lancashire County and Lancaster City councils and the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership to create the attraction, which many hope will rejuvenate the seaside town of Morecambe. Simon Bellamy, head of Eden Project International, said the vision is to ‘re-imagine what the 21st-century seaside resort could look like.’
One government minister went as far as to suggest that the arrival of the Eden Project in the North West should be likened to ‘Disneyland coming to Lancashire.’
Since its opening in 2001, Cornwall’s Eden Project has proven to be a huge success and has boosted the number of visitors in the local area. Receiving over 1 million visitors in 2017, the project is the most popular tourist attraction in Cornwall and is the 9th top-rated tourist attraction in England (according to Planet Ware).
The project also annually hosts musical performances known as the Eden Sessions. Wildly popular with the locals, previous shows have hosted acts such as the Kaiser Chiefs, Spandau Ballet, Bryan Adams, Bastille, Ellie Goulding and Paloma Faith.
Such success is hoped to be duplicated in Morecambe. While the Cornwall attraction has a focus on the rainforest and diverse plants, Hughes’ plan is to capitalise on what Morecambe is best known for and create a seashore biome that would be used to create a ‘fascinating and educational experience.’
Hughes’ report states, “As with the original Eden Project, the inside would be landscaped creating macro examples such as wetland, salt marsh, limestone pavement and escarpments, waterfalls and river environments plus other features, all including the inherent plant life.’
Although Eden Project North is estimated to cost around £100 million to create, the proposals have received widespread acclaim due to the abundance of jobs that the project will create alongside an economic boost for the local area, bringing tourists from across the UK and the world, to Morecambe.
Individuals voicing their opinion on Twitter have praised the Eden Project, labelling it as ‘game-changing for Morecambe’ and a ‘fabulous opportunity for the North-West.’ One user, Lisa Pickard (@LisaPickard18) said:
This will make a huge difference to Morecambe and be great for the area. It transformed Cornwall. I loved learning about its journey, impact & vision & now seeing some of that brought to life @edenproject https://t.co/ClQkfNGxwI
— Lisa Pickard (@LisaPickard18) 26 August 2018
Barrow-in-Furness MP John Woodcock said, ‘This exciting proposal would be a great addition to Morecambe Bay and would bring many more visitors into what is already one of the most beautiful areas in the country – and the world. The Lake District is all about celebrating our natural environment, and I hope that such a project would add to that sense of wonder and appreciation of nature.’