Eden Project North (Morecambe)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:00 pm on 17th October 2019.

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Photo of David Morris David Morris Conservative, Morecambe and Lunesdale 5:00 pm, 17th October 2019

I thank the hon. Lady for describing so eloquently the beauty of our area; she is right. Environmental, economic and social transformation is required on the back of the M6 link road, which was started in 2013. The road has proven to be an economic catalyst for Morecambe, but we now need the Eden Project to complement the existing investment and regenerate the immediate Morecambe area.

The recent case for investment in a report undertaken by Grant Thornton and submitted to the Minister, the Chancellor and even the Prime Minister has provided compelling evidence for Government investment. For every £1 invested, £4.20 will be returned to the immediate regional economy, including the creation of 6,500 jobs in the district and supply chain, with a further £116 million net contribution to the local GDP every year. This is further reinforced by the Eden Project’s operational expertise, which has proven to be such a catalyst for the south-west regional economy during the last 20 years of the Eden Project in Cornwall, creating economic vibrancy and confidence. Eden Project North will be a destination of pride for the north-west and a new anchor of destination from which further growth in employment and skills can and will flow.

It is universally agreed across government that the green agenda must be addressed, and it will be at the forefront of any policies in the future. Government backing for Eden Project North will demonstrate that commitment. In the current climate in this country, the project is also a symbol that says that optimism, ecology, education and community have a place in our future planning. A clear direction from the Government to support the plan will ensure that it will remain on track to open in late spring 2023. That will bring benefits that will lift Morecambe up to full employment and prosperity and will have results beyond the economic areas for health and wellbeing, enhanced education and new skills development, not just for the Morecambe area but for Lancaster as well.

Bluntly, what is needed is for the Government to contribute in the region of £40 million to £50 million in funding, in lesser blocks to be secured, to ensure the opening in spring 2023. At this stage of development, the proposal is estimated at a complete total of £101 million, of which £1.1 million has already been committed in equal parts by the four commissioning partners: roughly £250,000 each from Lancaster City Council, Lancashire County Council, the Lancashire local enterprise partnership and Lancaster University, plus the £100,000 that was allocated in the last Budget by the Chancellor.