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Dome company kicks future sports use into touch

The New Millennium Experience Company has ruled out a sports use for the Dome once the year-long celebrations are over.

The NMEC's Site, Structures and Transport director David Trench told the Design Build Foundation's annual conference last week that the battle to win possession of the famous £42 million structure was now down to 12 developers, but that only eight would he describe as 'bona fide' - and a sporting use was not amongst the proposals.

'Sport is not in the running' he said. 'It's the wrong shape - sports buildings go up on the outside and down in the middle.The Dome goes up in the middle and down on the outside.'

One sports bid had been put into the contest run by English Partnerships (EP) and the NMEC by Charlton Athletic Football Club, whose current home is close to the Greenwich structure. An idea for a conference facility was publicised by London First. Other bids have been kept secret, but Trench said uses now in the running are cultural, leisure, high-tech industrial and conference.

EPsaid the 12 developers will submit their ideas for the future use of the structure 'whilst maintaining its design integrity'within the next few days and the list will go down to three by the year end. But the final schemes will be subject to approval by locals in Stratford and Greenwich, whose areas will be most affected.

The Dome itself, meanwhile, will gain a certificate of completion by the middle of November. And although the NMEC has refused to give out figures on how many of the strictly timed tickets it is selling for the Dome, Trench said it was planning to sell a million by November. 'And from what I hear we're going to do it, ' he said.

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