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Prime Minister hails ‘world-class’ Eden attraction on visit to Morecambe

Rishi Sunak and Michael Gove visit the Midland Hotel on Thursday

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has visited Morecambe and says the Eden Project North will be a "world class" attraction.

Mr Sunak spoke to a packed audience at The Platform in Morecambe on Thursday afternoon.

Beyond Radio was in attendance as he took questions as the town celebrated news that £50m of government cash has been awarded to build the eco-attraction on the central Promenade.

Mr Sunak told an audience of invited guests at the railway station-turned arts venue that he thought the Eden Project North would be "world class" and "spectacular".

"It's a real privilege to be here with you to celebrate your success," he said.

The Q&A with the Prime Minister at The Platform was attended by David Morris, MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale, as well as council leaders, local business heads, Eden Project bid partners, residents, representatives of local charities and organisations, and the Eden Project team.

Mr Sunak, in the first of a series of 'PM Connect' events around the country, took questions for 45 minutes on a range of subjects including the Eden Project, NHS, help for small businesses and transport.

There was also a light-hearted moment as Mr Morris led the audience in a rendition of 'Oh I Do Like to Be Beside the Seaside' as they waited for the PM to appear.

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Earlier, the Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Michael Gove visited the central promenade site of Eden Project North following last night’s announcement.

Mr Sunak and Mr Gove were given a tour by the Eden Project’s Rob Chatwin, Group CEO, and Si Bellamy OBE, Chief Activation Officer, alongside Mark Davies, CEO of Lancaster City Council, and Sarah Kemp, Lancaster University Pro-Vice Chancellor Engagement.

They were shown plans for Eden Project Morecambe while walking the site and met students from Lancaster and Morecambe College studying green skills courses in land-based subjects, renewable energy and construction.

They had the opportunity to overlook the site from a balcony at the nearby Midland Hotel. 

Mr Sunak and Mr Gove also visited the art deco hotel, where they were welcomed by Eden Project team members and hotel staff.

The Prime Minister said: “It is fantastic that thanks to £50 million in new Government funding, the local community of Morecambe can start work on revitalising their seafront with a new Eden Project here in the North.

“The project is set to create thousands of new jobs, grow the local economy and boost pride across the community - a true example of Levelling Up in action.”

Rob Chatwin said: “It was a fantastic honour to host the Prime Minister and Levelling Up Secretary on this incredible and momentous day for Morecambe and the Eden Project. 

“The partners in Eden Project Morecambe are very proud of the project and excited about the future following the confirmation of Levelling Up Fund investment. Our work continues and we now look forward to the next phase for the project.

“Once again, we thank the local community for their brilliant and ongoing support.”

Councillor Caroline Jackson, leader of Lancaster City Council, said: "It was a truly momentous day for Morecambe and one we've been looking forward to with bated breath for some time.

"It was great to have all the partners together in one place to celebrate this marvellous achievement.

"The visit by the Prime Minister and Michael Gove underscored the importance of the project to not just our District but the wider region and the great potential for what else we can do in the future."

County Councillor Phillippa Williamson, Leader of Lancashire County Council, said: "This exciting transformational project will bring a huge boost to Morecambe, other parts of Lancashire and the North West.

“Lancashire continues to be recognised as a great place to invest, especially in sustainable, ambitious and innovative schemes.

"We can see the potential here in Morecambe. So, it was great to be here to see the positive result of Lancashire working together, with a visit to mark this exciting Levelling Up announcement."

Andy Walker, Chief Executive of The Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, said: “It’s a testament to the scale and significance of this project that the Government has made it a cornerstone of their Levelling Up agenda today. 

“It’s also fantastic that the collaborative and ambitious approach taken by all the partners has been recognised by the Prime Minister, and that we’ve demonstrated how as a county we can work together to get projects like this up and running for the benefit of the whole of Lancashire.”

Professor Andy Schofield, Lancaster University Vice Chancellor, said: “This is an absolutely fantastic day for Lancaster University but much more broadly for Morecambe and Lancaster and for Eden itself. 

“Eden Project Morecambe will play a key role in our education and research mission. It’s an investment that’s going to transform this region.”

David Morris, MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale, said: What a fantastic day for Morecambe. I was honoured to welcome the Prime Minister and Michael Gove to Morecambe on the day this game changing project has been given the go ahead. 

“This Project has been over 10 years of hard work and lobbying and it was a privilege to show the Prime Minister how exciting this announcement is for our community. This is Morecambe’s new birthday, and I couldn’t be more delighted.”

The bid was submitted by Lancaster City Council, one of the Eden Project’s key partners on the Morecambe attraction, and was chosen as a recipient of the largest investment possible under the fund, earmarked for large-scale cultural regeneration projects.

As the lead for the partnership bid, Lancaster City Council will be the recipient of the funding and will work with partners to ensure it is allocated in accordance with Government requirements.

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