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Grimshaw starts planning for 'carbon neutral' Eden Project North

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Grimshaw’s Eden Project North will be a net zero carbon attraction, new planning documents have revealed

The practice, a signatory to the Architects Declare climate emergency pledge, set out fresh details of the ambitious scheme in an Environmental Impact Assessment Scoping Report submitted to Lancaster City Council this week.

The AJ revealed last summer that Grimshaw had begun working on feasibility studies for the £85 million Morecambe project. The first images of the scheme, conceived as ‘a series of pavilions inspired by mussels’, were released before Christmas.

Now the first document of the planning process has been handed over, with project backer Eden Project International aiming to formally submit all papers by next spring. Subject to approval being granted, work could start on site in 2021 and complete in 2023.

The destination would combine indoor and outdoor experiences and enhance wellbeing. The vision is for a ‘seaside resort for the 21st century’, with re-imagined lidos, gardens, performance spaces, immersive experiences and observatories.

Eden Project North will be designed to accommodate up to 1 million visitors a year, with a daily capacity of 4,000 people and an outdoor arena designed for live music and entertainment.

The scoping report reveals that buildings will have a maximum height of 37.3m, equal to the adjacent Grade II*-listed Midland Hotel. It also sets out a commitment to making the development carbon neutral, with a focus on encouraging visitors to use public transport and park-and-ride schemes.

Eden Project International chief executive David Harland 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. 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.’

Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, Lancaster University, Lancashire County Council and Lancaster City Council have contributed £250,000 each towards the cost of designing and planning the scheme. A further £100,000 has been pledged by the government.

Grimshaw designed the original 2001 Eden Project in Cornwall and was appointed last year to draw up concept plans for an eco-tourist attraction on the site of Morecambe’s former Dome entertainment centre and Bubbles swimming pool.

Jolyon Brewis, partner at Grimshaw, last year described the scheme as ’transformational’, adding that Morecambe Bay was a ’unique location of outstanding natural beauty’.

The practice is already designing a new wave of potential centres for the Eden Project in Australia, New Zealand and China. In February last year, its £150 million proposals for an Eden Project scheme in Qingdao, China, received a major boost following prime minister Theresa May’s visit to the country.

Grimshaw's Eden Qingdao scheme - early iteration

Grimshaw’s Eden Qingdao scheme - early iteration

Grimshaw’s Eden Qingdao scheme - early iteration

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Now that other Eden Projects are on the horizon around the world it's worth noting that the original, in Cornwall, made brilliant use of an enormous worked-out china clay pit, whereas the Morecambe project - while on a brownfield site - is in an urban context (and seemingly much more of a 'fun palace' than the original), and I wonder how the others will fit their surroundings?

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