VIDEO: Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long Bailey visits Morecambe to discuss Eden Project
Labour's shadow business secretary Rebecca Long Bailey MP gave her backing to plans for an Eden North project on a visit to Morecambe this week.
Business owners and stakeholders met to discuss with Rebecca how the local economy would be boosted by the investment.
She said she believes Morecambe deserves this £80m transformational project and is committed to making it happen.
"I came to hear a bit more about the plans and the impact that it's going to have on the local area," she said. "I have met with many local businesses from electricians to construction workers and dairy farmers and members of the colleges and universities, and it was a very wide-ranging discussion.
"There is huge excitement about the plans. One of the most important things is to make sure that as much as possible is procured from local businesses, and I understand the Eden Project are promising to do that.
"We have got an opportunity to grow a wide range of businesses here on the back of the Eden Project, there is huge economic potential.
"We have got the talent here but we need the opportunity to develop that talent. I think projects like this have huge potential and I am really excited by it.
"It's now about making sure that the investment is received to support the project. At the moment we are not level pegging with the south and my job is now to put as much pressure on the government as possible to get the support that's needed."
Earlier this year the Eden North project was handed the final piece of funding needed to launch the next phase of the scheme.
The Lancashire Enterprise Partnership committed £250,000 towards the creation of a formal business case, equalling pledges made in recent months by Lancashire County Council, Lancaster City Council and Lancaster University.
The Eden Project, the education charity behind a venue of the same name in Cornwall, will now match that £1m total to commission further architectural work and explore how the attraction itself could be financed. The total bill for the concept is estimated to be in the region of £80m.
The scheme is expected to feature five giant mussel shells and will house exhibitions focusing on marine life, in contrast to the south west site which is centred on plants and rainforests.
The provisional design has been “inspired by the natural environment of Morecambe Bay” and will also focus on real-life research into natural and human health.
Labour’s Parliamentary candidate for Morecambe and Lunesdale, Lizzi Collinge, added: "This is a fantastic opportunity and people are really excited by it.
"Eden will provide a fantastic catalyst for bringing people into the area and providing skilled jobs in the area and will be a boost to local businesses."