Ambitious Eden Project Foyle plans being reconsidered in Derry

Plans for an ambitious riverside cultural and environmental tourist attraction on the banks of the Foyle are currently being ‘reconsidered’ due to economicdifficulties.
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Eden Project Foyle was announced in February 2020 as a project which would transform the banks of the River Foyle, linking the Boom Hall and Brook Hall estates and giving public access to previously inaccessible land.

It promised to play an important part in the regional recovery after the Covid pandemic when the then-Secretary of State MP Brandon Lewis visited the site in June 2020. Over two years later, the ‘Journal’ can confirm that the plans are now being ‘reconsidered’ for the £67m project, which was due to be completed by 2025.

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The project was set around the ‘Acorn’ a structure which was inspired by Neolithic architecture and connected with a network of walkways. Inside the Acorn would be a performance area and play spaces and visitors would have been able to walk on the roof and take zipwires down to the walkways.

Plans for Eden Project FoylePlans for Eden Project Foyle
Plans for Eden Project Foyle

The Acorn was expected to become the biggest undercover play area in Europe. The project was estimated to attract 400,000 visitors a year generating an annual £62m of economic impact and supporting 2,233 jobs within the local economy.

The future of the project is now uncertain, with the Eden Project citing the ‘global economic downturn’ and ‘associated pressures on public expenditure’ as blockages in the road.

Chairperson of Foyle River Gardens, Eamonn Deane, said: “Clearly the current macroeconomic context is not conducive to the feasibility or affordability of a project of this scale and ambition. In conjunction with our strategic partners, the Eden Project, we will want to consider options, based on a more modest and phased approach, but with the ultimate goal of enhancing the environmental amenity in the North West.”

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Eamonn Deane acknowledged the very significant support received for Eden Project Foyle, in particular the support received from the Northside Development Trust, and the encouragement of the wider community and representatives from the public, private and academic sectors. “Whilst it’s disappointing not to be in a position to proceed with this proposed world-class visitor attraction, we trust that those who endorsed the proposal will view this as a realistic and appropriate decision in the prevailing circumstances.”

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