Azara Blog: Possible new aquarium in Bedfordshire

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Date published: 2005/05/12

The BBC says:

The government is backing plans for the world's largest freshwater aquarium to be built in Bedfordshire.

It has given the go-ahead for the East of England Development Agency (EEDA) to provide loans for the £250m project.

The money would help the National Institute for Research into Aquatic Habitats (NIRAH) develop a business plan and seek planning permission.

The bio-domed research complex and aquarium, four times the size of the Eden Project, would be at Stewartby.

The 40-hectare complex in an old brickworks is the brainchild of an international team of biologists and conservationists.

It would be designed by Nicholas Grimshaw, who was responsible for the Eden Project in Cornwall.

The world's largest aquarium would be stocked with tropical trees and plants and populated by thousands of species of freshwater fish, amphibians and reptiles.
It is hoped the centre, funded by the revenue from scientific research and development as well as visitor income, would boost understanding of the earth's freshwater system and the animals that rely on it.

If plans are approved the centre could be running by 2010.

Sounds good, and a lot closer to the centre of gravity of the country than the Eden Project. The latter somehow managed to generate lots of good publicity (although it is little more than a glorified greenhouse) which has made it very successful. So hopefully this project will also be able to excel in marketing. Stewartby is near the M1, which should help getting to and from the site, assuming the access roads are upgraded (a big "if" in England, where planning disconnect is the normal rule).

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