COUNCIL leaders have joined calls for the Government to fund proposals for a major northern project in Wednesday's Budget.

A bid for £70 million has been submitted by the Eden Project to the Government for the Eden Project North scheme, which would be built on Morecambe promenade.

Councillors Dr Erica Lewis, Giles Archibald and Ann Thomson, leaders of the district councils in Lancaster, South Lakeland and Barrow, have now urged Chancellor Rishi Sunak to commit his support to the project in the upcoming Budget.

The three authorities are working together to develop the Morecambe Bay Cultural Compact, which seeks to develop different cultural assets to boost future creativity, investment, innovation, jobs and prosperity in the area.

Along with the Lake District World Heritage Site, Eden North is seen as a key component of this plan and its aim of embedding culture at the heart of the community.

The three leaders have also worked together on proposals to create a new unitary authority that would replace their existing district councils, along with the county councils (Lancashire and Cumbria), with a new, single tier ‘unitary’ local authority for the area.

Councillor Thomson, said: "Eden Project North is an exciting prospect which would bring wide-ranging benefits for the whole of the Morecambe Bay area.

"In particular, it would help us to realise some of the ambitions we have identified through our work on The Bay unitary proposal including a strong and sustainable visitor economy and healthy, flourishing communities.

"We hope the Government recognises the magnitude of the opportunities Eden Project North will offer across our area with the commitment of the funding it needs to move forward."

Councillor Archibald, said: “Our three authorities already have a strong record of collaboration on economic initiatives. Working together on The Bay unitary proposal has strengthened our commitment to shared priorities including improving wellbeing, building community wealth and tackling the climate emergency and loss of biodiversity.

“Eden North fits with all these key themes and would be a huge boost for communities across the whole Bay area."

Councillor Dr Lewis, said: “In both the proposals for Eden Project North and our own for a new unitary authority, along with work that is progressing on the Cultural Compact, we have the opportunity to deliver considerable social, economic benefits and environmental benefits for the whole of Morecambe Bay.

“These proposals complement each other perfectly and together provide the potential to create a new economy which puts sustainable and greener tourism at its heart.

“I now hope that the Government will make good on its promise to level up the regions by demonstrating its commitment to funding Eden North and help us realise the dream of bringing Eden to our area, as well as looking favourably on our own proposals for a new unitary authority."

People can have their say on The Bay proposals here