Eden Project heads “Westwood” into Devon
The Eden Project has entered into a formal agreement with Westwood, the proposed new leisure and tourism destination at Junction 27 of the M5. Experts from the Eden Project will now join the Westwood team to ensure that every aspect of the proposed attraction reaches world class levels of environmental sustainability.
This move is intended to pave the way for the landmark attraction near St Austell, Cornwall, to have a permanent presence at the proposed “Gateway to the South West”.
Westwood’s proposal for a 90 hectare leisure and tourism destination, backed by one of the world’s leading institutional investors, is set to create in excess of 3,500 jobs, if supported by Mid Devon District Council (MDDC).
The Eden Project will begin by undertaking a detailed review of every aspect of the proposed development at Westwood, from landscaping and the architecture and design to transport arrangements and the proposed building materials. Its team will then produce a series of recommendations aimed at making sure the scheme far exceeds modern sustainability standards.
Bob de Barr, from Westwood said today: “We are absolutely delighted to have secured the involvement of the Eden Project at Westwood. As the South West’s most famous tourist attraction it is a huge vote of confidence in Mid Devon’s potential that they are willing to join forces with Westwood.
“We want them to challenge every single aspect of the scheme so that we can create one of the greenest, most innovative facilities the UK has ever seen.”
Sir Tim Smit, Co-founder of the Eden Project, said he had undertaken “very constructive” conversations with the Westwood team about the possibility of having a presence at the site.
He said: “The Eden Project has become a part of Cornwall’s landscape but we very much see ourselves as an asset for the whole of the South West.
“With this is mind we have had some very constructive discussions with Westwood and their team about the possibility of the Eden Project having a presence on this exceptionally located site at the gateway to the South West.
“With all the uncertainty about the funding and promotion of the West Country's tourism industry, the opportunity to explore creating a destination promoting the whole region is very interesting.”
Westwood is currently being considered by MDDC for inclusion in the District’s draft Local Plan, which is due to be submitted to the Secretary of State for examination in 2015. MDDC’s Cabinet will meet on 11th December to determine whether or not Westwood should be included in the draft Local Plan, a decision that will subsequently be voted on at MDDC’s Full Council meeting on 17th December.
In a representative sample, ICM polled 500 people in the Mid Devon District in August 2014. The poll found that two thirds of local people supported Westwood when informed about the scheme.