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Ken gets behind London convention centre plan

London mayor Ken Livingstone has thrown his political weight behind plans for a new £250m convention centre in the capital.

An independent commission under the mayor's control claimed yesterday that a new centre would boost the UK economy by £400 million a year.

According to the commission, it is thought that such a facility - to be taken forward as a joint venture between the public and private sector - will bring 5,500 jobs to the capital.

The commission will consider a number of potential sites for the development over the next six to nine months before deciding on the next step - likely to involve a hotly contested design competition.

The convention centre would need to have a three-tiered auditorium for 3,000-5,000 people; two or three additional meeting spaces for about 800 and 400 delegates and an immediately adjacent meeting and exhibition space of 10,000m 2in size.

The commission was set up in 2004 by Livingstone to investigate the potential for a new international convention centre.

by Rob Sharp

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