Eden Project in Morecambe given go ahead by councillors

Report by ITV Granada Report's correspondent Elaine Willcox

After five years in the planning there were celebrations in Morecambe after the multi million pound eco tourist attraction, the Eden Project North was given the go ahead by councillors.

Lancaster City Council agreed planning approval for the scheme which could create hundreds of jobs - but it now depends on funding from the Government.

The city council now needs the taxpayer can pick up £70 million of the £125 million scheme.

David Harland, Chief Executive of the Eden Project said: "We are going to tell the story this vitally important coastal area, with every migrating bird coming in. It is incredibly important that we help people understand what is on their doorstep so they understand we are a part of nature and not apart from it".

The Eden Project North to be built at Morecambe Bay has been given the go head by councillors

Morecambe Bay is famed for its galloping tides, its marine life and its natural beauty. But the coastal town has serious deprivation too, and those behind the Eden Project in Cornwall say it's a golden ticket to transform the area.

Experts say investment in conservation is long over due. The mud at Morecambe Bay  attracts more than two hundred thousand migrating birds from across the globe. 

Barry Cooper, a former RSPB advisor said: "This is one of the most important sites for migrating birds in Northern Europe. I hope the Eden Project will communicate these kind of messages and raise awareness that we actually have something to be really proud of here."

Morecambe Bay is a site of special scientific interest and home to thousands of migrating birds

It is expected the project will employ more than 400 people and could inject as much as £200 million annually into the North West economy - potentially opening as early as 2024.

The people behind Eden Project North say it will be a major new attraction covering around 200,000 square feet of Morecambe's waterfront.

An image of what Eden Project North could look like, if planning permission is approved. Credit: Eden Project

Confirming the news David Morris, MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale said it was "a great day for Morecambe".

He added: "I am delighted that we have reached another milestone in the project and look forward to working with Michael Gove to get the government funding for the project secured."

It is estimated around three quarters of a million people would visit each year, boosting the local economy by over £45 million.

Organisers say it will connect people with the 'internationally-significant' natural environment of Morecambe Bay and that it will be a day out that inspires a sense of wonder and connection with the natural world.

A planning application submitted for the project went before Lancaster City Council's planning committee at what was set to be one of the city council’s most important planning meetings in over a decade.

  • David Morris MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale, has been championing the project since the start. He spoke to Gamal Fahnbulleh

What will Eden Project North look like?

Eden Project North will be a ticketed visitor attraction with large indoor environments, housed within iconic pavilions. It will build on the Eden Project in Cornwall’s mix of entertainment and education.

Eden Project North’s “shell like” domes will be constructed in timber and covered in a flexible transparent membrane with integrated solar cells.

These four shells  – known as the Rhythm Machine, the Bay Glade, the Bay Hall and the Natural Observatory – are set in a “dunescape” of landscaped roofing planted with coastal vegetation.

Surrounding the buildings will be a collection of outdoor gardens, designed to reflect the unique coastal environment.