Making the case to create an Eden in the North

The world-renowned Eden Project International Ltd

Working in partnership with Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, Lancaster University, Lancashire County Council and Lancaster City Council.

In April 2020, genecon was appointed to prepare a business case to help win Government investment in the development of the game-changing new Eden Project North in Morecambe, Lancashire.

At a glance:

We worked collaboratively with the Eden Project, Lancaster City Council, Lancashire County Council, Lancaster University and Lancashire LEP to build a fully compliant Green Book business case for presentation to central government

As trusted advisors, we took the lead on all aspects, building the financial model, strategic and economic cases

After we went above and beyond to help it succeed, planning permission has been granted and Government has offered its backing.

Image courtesy of Eden Project

The challenge:

The Eden Project in Cornwall is an iconic tourist attraction, but why should people from the North need to travel to the other end of the country to experience it? Soon, they won’t have to.

genecon was delighted to be appointed to help Eden Project North make the case for the funding that will be needed to bring it to life and deliver transformative financial and social value to the local area. As a national-scale tourism attraction, botanical garden and net zero research centre overlooking Morecambe Bay, it is expected to attract over 950,000 visitors a year.

We were responsible for preparing the business case for submission to Government, with the ultimate goal of securing £70m of national investment alongside £55m of private sector finance.

Delivering an iconic attraction like this will be game-changing for the region. Our role was to ensure the business case captured the excitement and significance of the project, as well as the detailed economic analysis and robust economic and financial case to secure HM Treasury approval as the key step to securing major public investment.

The project offers a significant opportunity to deliver on the Government’s levelling-up agenda by supporting wellbeing and opportunity across Morecambe and putting the North West’s visitor economy on the global map.

We’ve since developed a bid for round 2 Levelling Up Fund investment which, if successful, would represent one of only two large-scale Government cultural investments across the UK.

How we did it differently:

The first thing we did was analyse the detailed work strands and supporting evidence that would be needed to build a very robust business case, capable of scrutiny across the range of government departments likely to have an interest in the project.

We took the lead in managing and co-ordinating contributions from specialist sub-consultants, including design, cost analysis, state aid, transport, leisure consultancy, property and valuation, accountancy and tax.

Our experts also helped the team develop their financial model, demonstrating viability and running sensitivity scenarios.

We applied our knowledge of successful place-making across the UK and internationally to show how this project would make a positive difference to Morecambe and the surrounding North West region and the people that live, work and visit the area.

genecon positioned Eden Project North as a game-changing international destination that will complement what is already on offer in the North West’s visitor economy, while also supporting the UK’s transition to Net Zero through research and Eden Project North’s collaboration with Lancaster University.

We also built the economic case to demonstrate £200m of core value benefit and the commercial case to prove that a market exists for the project.

Image courtesy of Eden Project

Our impact:

The business case was submitted to the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (now the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities) in September 2020.

This led to a period of intense scrutiny and review from across Government. We used our experience and in-depth understanding of the project to take a lead in coordinating the responses.

Planning permission for Eden Project North was granted in January 2022 and former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced in April that: “We are going to make funding available” for the project, with work expected to start by the end of 2022.

“We are going to make funding available” Boris Johnson
Former UK Prime Minister

In follow up we have recently supported the partners in preparing the bid to the Government’s Levelling Up Fund Round 2 in August 2022.

* Header image courtesy of Eden Project