A 'GAME CHANGING' attraction inspired by the south coast's multimillion pound Eden Project could be in the pipeline for Morecambe Bay.

The Eden Project North would aim to put the coastal region back on the map, with hopes of boosting the economy, drawing in thousands of visitors and creating new job opportunities.

And with the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales National Park and Arnside and Silverdale Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty within travelling distance, the site's benefits could extend beyond the Morecambe catchment area.

Cornwall's Eden Project consists of covered biomes housing the largest rainforest in captivity, Mediterranean landscapes, plants, outdoor gardens, the 'core' which is home to exhibitions, art and schools programmes and a stage for seasonal events and concerts.


The Gazette understands that the Eden Project of the North site would be set on the former Dome entertainment venue and Bubbles swimming pool area in central Morecambe.

It is believed that the inside of the project would be landscaped to create examples of different environments and their plant life and there would be educational hands-on displays to encourage learning.

And with the proposed site situated close to the shore, the Gazette understands that an area of shoreline for a 'seashore biome' may be considered, creating a micro-seashore environment for both teaching and recreational purposes.

It is hoped that the facility would be as environmentally self-sufficient as possible and create a minimal carbon footprint.

Morecambe and Lunesdale MP David Morris has been one of those involved in working to turn the Eden Project North into a reality.

“I have been working for many months behind the scenes with Eden on this exciting project," he said. "I am working with Government to secure funding and Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry is also supporting this project and helping me secure further funding. Once this funding is fully finalised we will be able to give much more details about the project.

"It is an extremely exciting project and will bring a number of opportunities to our area. I have been and visited the Cornwall Eden project and spoken with their team and spoken to my Cornish MP colleagues about the Eden impact in their area. If Eden gives only a small percentage of those benefits to our area it will be a game changer for Morecambe and its regeneration."

Since the Eden Project, which cost £141m to build, opened in Cornwall in 2001, it has contributed £1.7billion to the local economy and attracted more than 18 million visitors.

Money for the project came from the lottery, the EU and Southwest Regional Development Agency, £20 million of commercial loans and some funds generated by Eden itself and reinvested back into the project.

Last January it was reported that according to the results for trading subsidiary Eden Project Ltd, turnover for the year to March 27, 2016 was £20.7m, up from £18m in 2014/15.

And with around 400 core staff, 200 seasonal employees and 150 volunteers, the project is a major employer in the county of Cornwall.

The south coast based attraction is an educational charity as well as a visitor draw, with money raised going towards supporting learning programmes and transformational projects.

Northern Powerhouse Minister and Lancashire MP Jake Berry said that if the 'globally significant' project came to the North it would be like 'a project as prestigious as Disneyland coming to Lancashire'.

"I just think for Lancashire and the north more generally, to have the prospect of the first Eden Project outside Cornwall [in the UK] wanting to locate to Morecambe, it is a huge endorsement of the Northern Powerhouse and everything we are trying to do to grow the northern economy," he said.

He added that it was not just Lancashire that would benefit from the project.

"I think that Cumbria is one of the big draws that will draw the Eden Project to the very northern tip of Lancashire," he said. "A development of this scale will massively, I am sure, drive a wider tourism and visitor economy in both Lancashire and Cumbria."

He added that the project was a great example of 'partnership working', praising the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership and Mr Morris.

"It's too early to say," Mr Berry said, when asked what the next stage of the proposal would be. "Discusssions have been talking place for over 18 months and I want to make sure that we work as hard as possible to bring this exciting investment to Lancashire and the north. But we have to make sure we get it right so I would not want to put a false timetable on it."

Lancaster City Council, Lancaster University and Lancashire County Council have also been involved in investigating the feasibility of a project in Morecambe but were unable to comment on the details of any specific scheme.

"The feasibility work for any project is always likely to be complex and it is too early to say what the outcome will be, at this time," a spokesperson for Lancaster City Council said. "The council is very pleased to be working with its partners to consider transformation of the area through potential major projects and investment."