Eden Project set to expand to Dundee as city lines up new eco attraction

A vast new “global garden” visitor attraction is set to be created in Dundee under plans by the Eden Project in Cornwall to expand into Scotland for the first time.

The Eden Project has attracted 22 million visitors since it opened in 2001. Picture: Hufton & Crow

A search is underway for a suitable site for a “transformative and regenerative” project dedicated to celebrating “humanity’s connection to the natural world.”

City leaders said the proposed eco attraction embodied the city’s “vision, ambition and determination” and suggested it would help Dundee recover and rebuild from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

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The original Eden Project, near St Austell in Cornwall, has attracted more than 22 million visitors since it opened in 2001. Built in a crater in a former quarry the size of 30 football pitches, features tropic biomes housing the world’s biggest indoor rainforest, has generated more than £2 billion for the Cornish economy.

Both Dundee University and Dundee City Council, who were key players in the bid to bring the V&A north, are working with the Eden Project on the venture, which has been touted for Camperdown, the city’s largest park.

The partnership has been confirmed three months after the V&A museum, which opened to the public in September 2018, reached the one million visitors landmark. The £80.1 million attraction was said to have generated £21 million to the city’s economy and £75 million to the Scottish economy in its first year.

David Harland, chief executive of Eden Project International, said: “We’re really excited to be working in Dundee. It is a vibrant city with big ambitions and we hope to be able to create something that encapsulates its unique appeal.

“The opening of the city’s V&A in 2018 was a bold statement of intent and we want to be part of the next wave, helping establish Dundee as a truly world-class destination.

“The city was traditionally known for its ‘jute, jam and journalism’, to which we would hope to add some joy, jubilation and, if not an actual jungle, at least the spirit that enabled us to build one under cover in an abandoned quarry in Cornwall.”

Council leader John Alexander said: “We’re delighted to be working with Eden Project International and our local and national partners on such an exciting collaboration.

“There’s a clear alignment between what Eden is known for – sustainability, education and a first-class visitor experience – and what we want to deliver. Bringing it to Dundee would not only mean securing an amazing asset for local people to enjoy, but also adding another world-class attraction to our future visitor offer.

“Tourism was a key pillar of the Dundee economy before the devastating events of the past few months and it will be again. The vision, ambition and determination embodied in projects such as Eden - and V&A Dundee before it - will be critical to creating jobs and prosperity as we as a city recover and rebuild.”

Scottish tourism secretary Fergus Ewing said: “Dundee has a growing international reputation as a prestigious cultural and tourism destination and this announcement is incredibly welcome news.

“I have no doubt the project will play a key role in Dundee’s strategic economic recovery from Covid-19, providing many benefits and opportunities to secure jobs, increase investment and attract more visitors to the area.”

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