Derry Eden Project 'could open by 2023'

Eden Project Foyle Image copyright Eden Project
Image caption Work could begin on the Eden Project Foyle within 18 months

A Northern Ireland version of the Eden Project's Cornish visitor attraction could open by summer of 2023, the team behind the plans has said.

The £67m Eden Project Foyle includes walled gardens, tree-top and floating walkways and a water activity centre on a 250 acre site on the banks of the River Foyle.

The Eden Project is now looking to secure funding for the Derry project.

Organisers say construction would begin within 18 months if funding is secured.

Image copyright Eden Project
Image caption Inside the project's centrepiece building is a performance area and play space

The team behind the project - Eden Project International and Foyle River Garden, a charitable trust that will own and operate it - say the project would create around 170 jobs and support a further 2000 plus jobs locally when open.

They say it will be "a beacon of cultural tourism and a community asset helping to drive social, economic and environmental regeneration" and estimate it to be worth £62m to the local economy annually.

Sir Tim Smit, the Eden Project's co-founder, said the project would have a "transformative capacity to draw visitors to the north west and become a global must-see destination".

Image copyright Eden Project
Image caption The plans include tree-top and floating walkways and a water activity centre and zipwires

The project's mention in the New Decade, New Approach - the deal that restored devolution to Northern Ireland - he said, was "huge vote of confidence for the team".

"We are looking forward to working with our partners in Derry and Donegal to bring this project forward, Sir Tim added.

The Eden Project in Cornwall opened near St Austell in 2001 and attracts around 1m visitors annually.

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