Lancashire County Council has agreed to provide £250,000 towards the business case for an ‘Eden of the North’ in Morecambe.
The decision was taken at the Cabinet meeting yesterday (Thursday 17 January).
Eden International has identified a potential location for a nationally-significant new visitor facility, which presents an opportunity for regeneration in Morecambe and to create an all-year round visitor attraction.
The county council, along with the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, Lancaster University and Lancaster City Council, are all working with Eden International to explore the development of the new visitor facility.
Eden International is the global arm of their operations, which includes the world-famous Eden Project in Cornwall, visited by 1m visitors each year.
The business case would assess the deliverability and viability of the proposal.
Eden International would commission and engage the professional planning, design and finance expertise needed to develop the supporting business case.
The four local stakeholders have each been asked to contribute towards the development of the business case, with this total of £1m matched by Eden International.
County Councillor Geoff Driver CBE, leader of the county council, said: “This is an important project with potentially huge benefits, not only for Morecambe and Lancashire, but for the whole of the North West. We’re pleased to be able to support the development of the business case.
“It’s an exciting time for Morecambe, Lancaster and the surrounding area. This proposed project would be part of a wide range of major initiatives to realise regional growth potential, including the Bay growth corridor, city centre developments, and the delivery of a new Garden Village in South Lancaster underpinned by new public transport infrastructure.”
The county council’s contribution of £250,000 will come from anticipated additional funding from the 2019/20 Lancashire Business Rate Pilot, with councils retaining 75% of business rate growth, rather than 50%.
The pilot aims to target economic growth across Lancashire by investing some of the additional retained funding in this way.