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No butts: Dome to be a smoke-free zone

The Millennium Dome in Greenwich is to be a nosmoking zone.

The news emerged this week from a series of answers given by the New Millennium Experience Company to a list of questions by the AJ on unpublicised aspects of the controversial building.

The company said that it has decided to force smokers outside both because smoking is 'not really appropriate' given the numbers of children expected at the event and to cut down the risk of fire. For the large proportion of smokers expected to visit the Dome, it promises to be a long walk to take a gasper outside - when the PTFE-coated glass-fibre roof is completed this June it will cover a mammoth 80,000 m2 of ground-floor space, and have a circumference of one kilometre.

In terms of getting to the Dome, the new model of the Richard Rogers-designed structure unveiled at last week's high-profile press conference revealed a cable car, stretching from East India Dock to the north bank of the Greenwich peninsula. This will be funded separately from the £758 million being pumped into the 'Experience', by a private company - Meridian Cable Cars. Chassay Architects has designed it.

Zaha Hadid's Mind Zone, present only in silhouette at the event last week, will be held back from the public for some time yet, along with MUF's Shared Ground zone. Six large dull-looking, three-storey 'core' buildings (in red, above right), by the Richard Rogers Partnership and 'akin to small office blocks', will provide catering facilities, backstage facilities for the central Mark Fisher/Peter Gabriel show, facilities for media and VIPs - and a total of 500 WCs. The NME said that it is speaking to a range of catering providers since the event will attract 12 million visitors per year - NME chief executive Jennie Page has spoken informally to Terence Conran, while McDonalds, Burger King et al cannot be ruled out. A cigarette after your meal, however, will not be allowed.

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