The Eden Project is offering Morecambe “a vision of a seaside resort for the 21st century” in its first planning report submitted today.
A 4,000 capacity outdoor arena for live music and entertainment, re-imagined lidos, gardens, immersive experiences and observatories will reflect Morecambe’s rich heritage in the £85m proposals for the former Bubbles and Dome site on the promenade.
It will be designed to accommodate up to a million people per year, but is expected to attract around 760,000, with a daily capacity of 4,000 people.
The plan is for tickets to be issued for specific times to ensure a smooth flow of visitors through the project.
An Environmental Impact Assessment Scoping Report has now been submitted to Lancaster City Council, the first stage in the preparation of the Environmental Impact Assessment and full planning application.
The report, submitted by Eden Project International Limited (EPIL), outlines further detail on the proposed £85m development.
It is proposed that the destination will combine indoor and outdoor experiences, connecting people with the internationally significant natural environment of Morecambe Bay while also enhancing wellbeing.
The report reveals that buildings will have a maximum height of 37.3 metres, no taller than the adjacent Grade II* listed Midland Hotel.
The Eden Project North proposals aim to respect the setting of the hotel and the nearby Grade II* listed Winter Gardens as well as enhancing Morecambe’s conservation area.
The report lays out Eden’s commitment to making the Morecambe development carbon neutral with a focus on encouraging visitors to use public transport and park-and-ride schemes.
Eden’s vision is for a project free of fossil-fuelled vehicles (with exceptions made for accessibility reasons) and a pedestrianised Morecambe Promenade.
Eden will undertake detailed public and stakeholder consultation this summer and autumn and aims to submit the Environmental Statement alongside the planning application in spring next year (2020).
The project is due to open in spring 2023, following a two-year construction period.
David Harland, Chief Executive of Eden Project International Limited, said: “This is an important milestone for Eden Project North.
“Having a positive impact on the internationally significant environment of Morecambe Bay is fundamental to our vision for this project. This report is the next step towards making Eden Project North a reality.
“We have been overwhelmed by the support we have had from the local community and we look forward to working closely with everyone in the coming months and years as Eden Project North takes shape.”
EPIL is working with Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, Lancaster University, Lancashire County Council and Lancaster City Council to deliver Eden Project North.
Each of these has contributed £250,000 towards the cost of designing and planning. This is in addition to £100,000 pledged by the Government.
The project has the support of Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry MP, who has pledged to help Morecambe and Lunesdale MP David Morris lobby the Chancellor of the Exchequer for further funding.
Earlier this month, Mr Morris spoke about plans for Eden Project North at the House of Commons in an Adjournment Debate dedicated to the project.
The debate was answered by Tourism Minister Rebecca Pow MP.
Eden in Cornwall has contributed more than £2bn to the local economy and welcomed more than 21 million visitors since it fully opened in 2001.
EPIL is the global wing of the Eden Project, whose ambition is to create projects inspired by the original Cornish vision in every habitable continent on earth.
It is currently working on projects in China, Australia, Dubai, the USA and the UK.