Eden Project Morecambe, located in Morecambe in the UK, received planning permission from Lancaster City Council on 31 January, marking a significant step forward for Eden Project and the Grimshaw designs for this major new attraction.
The project, developed with support from local partners Lancaster City Council, Lancashire County Council, Lancashire Enterprise Partnership and Lancaster University, will focus on reimaging health and wellbeing, taking inspiration from its location within the landscape of Morecambe Bay ― a natural estuary south of the Lake District. The project is designed to create new views across the bay, while complementing its townscape including the setting of the Grade II* listed Winter Gardens and Midland Hotel nearby.
At the heart of the attraction, organised around a central courtyard, is a series of shell-like structures which will host the main exhibition spaces: immersive experiences that will inspire wonder in the natural life above and below the bay. These spaces are known as the Rhythm Machine, the Bay Glade, the Bay Hall and the Natural Observatory. Wrapped around the lower part of the shells are the ancillary spaces, designed to seamlessly integrate the shells into the surrounding landscape. These undulating forms, accommodating different uses, resemble a dune-scape emulating the natural forms of the bay.
Surrounding the buildings will be a collection of beautiful outdoor gardens, designed to reflect the flora, geology and rhythms of their unique coastal environment. These include the Rhythm Garden, incorporating a new outdoor arena, and the Tide Garden whose beds spiral down towards a tidal pool at the garden’s centre.
The concept for Eden Project Morecambe is also driven a regenerative and biophilic design approach, building on Grimshaw’s work at the first Eden Project destination in Cornwall. The design focusses on reducing embodied and operational carbon, minimising energy demand and contributing positively to the environment: the project will be a showcase for visitors to learn about and experience this approach. The site will also be home to Eden Project’s research and education programme encouraging curiosity, connection and understanding of our natural world.
Beyond its design the project will have far-reaching economic and social impact, directly employing more than 400 people, with an additional 1,500 jobs supported in the region, and will inject £200m per year into the North West economy. Subject to funding being secured, it is due to open in 2024.
“Inspired by the unique location and outstanding natural beauty of Morecambe Bay, Eden Project Morecambe will become a landmark destination of national and international significance. We are delighted that the scheme has now secured planning approval and look forward to bringing to life, for Morecambe, a place that will bring wonder, wellbeing, and connection to the natural world. Thank you to everyone in the community and local partners who have contributed to and supported this project so far.”
Jolyon Brewis, Partner, Grimshaw
“Planning permission is a huge milestone on our journey towards making Eden Project Morecambe an exemplar project for Morecambe, Lancashire and the North of England. The project is now definitively shovel-ready and a compelling financial case has been made to the government. We are primed and ready to create this beacon to a green and sustainable future, be part of Levelling Up and drive economic and social enhancements across the region. While we are incredibly proud of what we and our partners have achieved so far, we now need UK government support to quickly bring this to fruition and maintain momentum. We’re hugely grateful to the Lancaster City Council for granting this landmark project planning permission. Massive thanks must also go to our partners and the community in the region for supporting us throughout the consultation process. We continue to be inspired by the wellspring of positivity we get from the people of Morecambe.”
David Harland, Chief Executive, Eden Project International