Eden Project Dundee approved

With decontamination work already underway at the former gas works site on East Dock Street, Dundee City Council unanimously approved the Eden Project planning application on 17 June.

The Civic Trust utilised its position as a statutory consultee by making a deputation to the council. We are clear in our support for Eden Project Dundee and our statement to the councillors welcomed this bold and ambitious project, which contains contains potentially transformative developments. There is much to be commended in the exciting and thoughtful design proposals.

In terms of regeneration and sustainability, however, we believe there is a lack of ambition. Given the environmental credentials of the development, it ought to aim for Net Zero carbon as a primary objective, employing Passivhaus Premium principles and accepted targets for embodied carbon.

The basic approach to energy use is commendable, but we feel this is also rather unambitious. Eden should strive for greater energy self-sufficiency to help address the climate emergency. Additional means can be employed, including: more PV panels on the slope at Peep o’ Day Lane and elsewhere; vertical wind turbines; battery storage; and cooperating with future-technology energy companies to demonstrate that Eden is in the forefront of developments and design for self-sufficiency in energy.

Our main concerns, however, are about access to the site, which lies largely within the council’s responsibility to address and coordinate.

Private car travel (estimated to be 62% of visitors) is to discouraged, but it is not explained how this goal will be met. There will be congestion. Dropping off arrangements at Peep o’ Day Lane will need to be improved.

The provision of public transport will require robust arrangements with all travel providers for pricing, bus turning and parking, and Active Travel routes.

The dilapidated and unwelcoming condition of Seagate is worrying, as this will be much used by visitors.

The bridge over the road and railway line is a vital requirement from the opening date, to provide an appropriate statement entrance, as well as opening up the dock area. Access to it from the centre must be carefully planned to encourage visitors to use that route.

Foundry Lane is an obvious access point but significant issues of upgrading, access to buildings and traffic use must be addressed.

Peep o’ Day Lane may suit visitors from the north of the city, but with a steep path it is not wholly suitable for disabled drop off, arriving from the city centre, or for cycle access.

East Dock Street is wholly unsuitable for access, as it will be congested, noisy, cramped, dangerous and dirty, and not susceptible to upgrading. We are at a loss to understand why this is being proposed as a major pedestrian access route.

The Access Routes proposed for the Eden Project present major obstacles that must be resolved before the project is opened to the public.  It is the council’s responsibility to resolve these, in partnership with the Eden Project team and other stakeholders.

We have urged councillors to ensure that their officers are obliged to fully resolve these access issues prior to the start of the Eden Project on site.