Morecambe Prom car free zone plan for Eden Project North

Eden Project North's Area of Interest
Eden Project North's Area of Interest
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A mile of Morecambe Promenade could be permanently closed to traffic between the proposed Eden Project North site and Morecambe Town Hall.

New plans include the “pedestrianisation of the prom”, with a map of Morecambe showing the project’s “area of interest”.

The plans also identify the Lancaster Park and Ride site at Junction 34 of the M6 as having potential for 600 extra vehicles, and includes a vision for no fossil fuel vehicles within the last two miles of a visitor’s journey to Eden Project North.

The Eden Project’s £85m plan for the former Dome and Bubbles site, which could open in 2023, are “a vision of a seaside resort for the 21st century” bosses say.

The area of interest extends from Morecambe Town Hall along Marine Road Central to the proposed site north of The Midland Hotel.

Access to the Midland Hotel from the south would not be affected.

Eden Project North's Area of Interest

Eden Project North's Area of Interest

The area of interest outlined in red also includes The Stone Jetty, and parts of Lancaster City Council’s Festival Market car park, as well as the Platform venue.

Minutes from a meeting between Eden Project North and Lancashire County Council transport officers also reveal potential re-routing of main routes along the seafront with the use of Northumberland Street and other roads.

Lancashire County Council’s view was that this could be feasible.

It is understood those with mobility issues will still be able to access the prom in a vehicle.

An artist's impression of Eden Project North, a proposed new attraction for Morecambe . Credit: Grimshaw Architects

An artist's impression of Eden Project North, a proposed new attraction for Morecambe . Credit: Grimshaw Architects

Eden Project North’s Environmental Impact Assessment scoping document states: “Pedestrianisation is fundamental to Eden Project North’s transport plan, as it results in cleaner air, increased physical activity, more time spent outside and reduced noise pollution.

“Optimising the use of car parks in the town centre, public transport and walking/cycling means the beautiful landscapes of Morecambe will be able to be much better appreciated by locals and tourists alike, as the heavy traffic on Marine Road Central will be significantly reduced.

“This means the town will not be cut off from the promenade, and people will have better opportunities to walk and cycle.

“It also will increase safety from a traffic perspective, as well as safety in terms of ‘eyes on the street’.”

The transport section of the document also talks of making transport part of the overall experience.

“This means eliminating and reducing queues, over-crowding, over-priced tickets and introducing a sense of fun into the journey,” it says.

“This could mean that the inside and outside of trains, buses and waiting areas are decorated in unexpected ways, and that the method of transport encourages users to engage with Eden Project North’s core ideas from before the point of arrival.”

The maximum number of visitors to the site is envisaged as one million per year with an estimated average of 760,000 per annum.

“There will be timed ticketing to control visitor flows,” the report says.

“The proposed development has been designed to accommodate a maximum of 4,000 visitors per day.

“Feasibility studies indicate an estimated average of 100 days per annum of up to 3,000 visitors; 200 days per annum of up to 2,000 visitors; and 60 days per annum of up to 1,000 visitors.

“There will be a maximum of 500 visitors per hour accessing the site.”

The main site would be open daily from 9am until 9pm, with the 4,000-person capacity outdoor arena to host late evening events between 6pm and 12am, with music finishing at 11pm.

An Eden Project spokesman said: “This scoping report sets the parameters for the potential impact of Eden Project North and are the starting point for conversations about how we can best proceed with our vision for this project.

“The principle of pedestrianisation is fundamental to Eden Project North’s transport plan, as it results in cleaner air, increased physical activity, more time spent outside and reduced noise pollution. However, details of where and how this will be implemented are still to be decided. We will work in consultation with Lancashire County Council, Lancaster City Council, the local community and relevant stakeholders on a transport plan that works for the people of Morecambe, Eden Project North and the environment.”

EDEN PROJECT NORTH’S TRANSPORT VISION IS SET OUT BELOW:

Eden Project North - Transport Vision

Eden Project North aims to be the leading example for progressive and healthy transport methods in the UK.

We want to subvert typical transport expectations (that a journey requires petrol, that it’s boring, that it requires lots of planning and forethought) to provide a clean, smooth, accessible, fun and active alternative to arriving at a destination that further endorses these values.

Eden Project North recognises that the experience starts long before the visitor crosses the entrance gates, and that our decisions and commitments to sustainability and human health extend far beyond the duration of their stay.

This is why we remain dedicated to establishing a forward-thinking and innovative strategy that can bring new and positive things to the town, the people and the natural environment of Morecambe.

The purpose of this statement is for us to explain to Lancashire County Council and Lancaster City Council our transport vision for Eden Project North.

As a vision it is innovative, forward looking and thought provoking. Its objective is to stimulate discussion and set the principles which will guide the transport strategy and engagement with key consultees. It is the first stage in establishing the detailed transport strategy for the project, which will be developed over the coming months in collaboration with Eden Project North, its highways and planning consultants and the City and County Councils.

Eden’s core principles

1. Eden Project North aims to work with the existing transport infrastructure where possible.

We believe the most sustainable and effective method of accessing Eden Project North and integrating a new transport strategy is to use the resources and infrastructure that are already available.

We will investigate how we can best use existing infrastructure such as the Park and Ride at M6 Junction 34, the existing local train line from Lancaster to Morecambe, the bus network, footpaths and the existing Way of the Roses cycle path.

2. Eden Project North aims to support future transport developments where multiple schemes can create an argument for larger-scale improvements.

We support many of the principles established in the Lancashire City Council Highways and Transport Masterplan 2016 to help deliver a wide-reaching network of sustainable travel options.

We will work with the City and County Councils to try and weave the principles into our transport strategy to help make the Morecambe Area Action Plan a reality. We will consider a range of measures to improve gateways into Morecambe Town Centre and aim to fully integrate the seafront with the town to make it more attractive to spend time in a Morecambe less dominated by cars.

3. Eden Project North’s Transport Strategy aims to positively influence circulation routes in and around the town of Morecambe, encouraging pedestrianisation and inspiring people to spend more time in different areas.

“At the moment, though the seafront and some of the shopping areas are often busy, this footfall doesn’t actually benefit the town centre as much as it might, because many people who come to Morecambe don’t spend much time actually in the centre.” Highways and Transport Masterplan 20161.

We aim to support businesses in the town centre by drawing people through the town and encouraging dwell/stay times through creating attractive routes and public realm. This should assist with people spending leisure time at cafes and in shops or galleries, to assist in economic regeneration of the commercial centre.

4. Public transport is the priority method.

Public transport is integral to Eden Project North’s Transport Vision, as it not only mitigates fossil fuel emissions per head, but also can encourage interaction through social spaces around waiting rooms, shared carriages and friendly service operators. Encouraging public transport use will also enhance services for residents, workers and all visitors.

5. The baseline for the planning horizon is 2025+, with a vision towards 2030.

The vision for transport with Eden North looks as far as possible into the future. The potential for new solutions and technologies to emerge towards 2030 will be taken into consideration, and room for these to be incorporated will be made available in the 2025+ plan. Such technologies could range from advances and improvements to existing vehicles, such as electric methods of transport, to new infrastructures such as a Hyperloop, to new ways of imagining the public’s interaction with the built environment, such as kinetic pavements and energy harvesting.

Permeable paving and enhanced rainwater collection methods may also be relevant to the Eden Project North site, as resilience to unreliable weather patterns becomes ever more important.

6. Last two miles – no fossil fuel vehicles around the site.

Diesel and petrol vehicles release particulate matter under 2.5microns in diameter (PM2.5). This type of particulate matter is the most directly harmful for human health, as it is absorbed into the respiratory and circulatory systems. Eden Project North’s Transport Vision aims to factor in the health benefits of reducing fossil fuel vehicles from not only a physical exercise and social interaction perspective, but also by focusing on the invisible chemical and biological impacts of pollution on both human health and the surrounding environment. This is why a ‘last two miles’ rule will be in place for most vehicles, meaning the air quality and layout of the town centre will be improved.

The Transport Strategy will, of course, take into consideration and make exceptions for emergency vehicle access and blue badge parking options, with the potential for these spaces to be reserved in advance, and the site will be entirely accessible for those with additional mobility requirements.

Eden Project North aims to be wholly inclusive in all aspects of the experience, and especially in its Transport Strategy which will make people feel welcome and supported from the very first stage of their Eden journey.