Attractions industry news

24 Jun 2019

Eden Project North starts to take shape with tentative 2023 opening date set

The first stage in the preparation of a planning application for the proposed Eden Project North in the UK has been completed, with the submission of an Environmental Impact Assessment Scoping Report to Lancaster City Council.

The £85m (US$108m, €95.6m) development will see a series of mussel-shaped pavilions capable of housing a variety of environments built on the seafront at Morecambe, Lancashire. In the latest information revealed, the site will combine indoor and outdoor experiences, including a 4,000-capacity outdoor arena designed for live music and entertainment.

Estimates are that Eden Project North would attract around 760,000 visitors per year, but it will be designed to accommodate up to a million, with a daily capacity of 4,000 people and tickets will be issued for specific times to ensure a smooth flow of visitors through the project.

None of the buildings will exceed 37.3 metres (122.4ft) in height, ensuring that they are no taller than the Grade II listed Midland Hotel, nearby. The intention is to make the Morecambe development carbon neutral, with a focus on encouraging visitors to use public transport and park-and-ride schemes.

Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, Lancaster University, Lancashire County Council and Lancaster City Council have each contributed £250,000 (US$318,000, €281,000) towards the design and planning costs of Eden Park North, while the UK Government has so far pledged £100,000 (US$127,000, €112,000).

The next stage will involve public and stakeholder consultation this year, with a plan to submit the planning application and environmental statement in Q2 2020. All being well, a two-year construction period will see the project open in Q2 2023.

David Harland, chief executive of Eden Project International, said the latest development was an important milestone, adding: "Having a positive impact on the internationally significant environment of Morecambe Bay is fundamental to our vision for this project."

The original Eden Project in Cornwall has welcomed more than 21 million visitors since it opened in 2001, contributing more than £2bn (US$2.54bn, €2.25bn)to the local economy. The international expansion of the concept is well advanced, with Eden Projects currently being worked upon in China, Australia, Dubai and the US.

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