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Athletic leap of the imagination required

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Letters

Now that the new Wembley Stadium is not to have an athletics facility around the football/ rugby league pitch, some imaginative vision needs to be applied to find a new home for athletics.

The negotiations with Legacy for the purchase of the Millennium Dome at Greenwich, we read in the press, may collapse. If this happens there is an opportunity for more imaginative proposals to be put forward for the Dome and the surrounding land. I cannot think of a more unsuitable proposal than to fill the huge clear space of the magnificent Dome with office blocks and workshops for hi-tech businesses. It would require the rewriting of the planning, building and fire regulations.

I propose that this superb landmark building be retained and be listed Grade 1. Its structure will last for hundreds of years and the fabric covering can be renewed when it wears out with a, yet-to-be-invented, more durable fabric. The internal buildings should not be listed, instead they can be adapted for the Dome's new use.

If Pierre-Yves Gerbeau doesnot purchase the Dome as a tourist attraction, I believe it should become a major centre for sports, which could also be used for concerts and numerous staged events. The service core buildings can be converted to include changing and administrative facilities in addition to the existing WCs and restaurants. An outdoor athletics stadium could be built. Sites on the Greenwich peninsula could also be found for Legacy's hitech park.

During the year the Dome was open we had the maximum capacity of 35,000 visitors on many days. If the proposed Thames crossing is made to the east of the peninsula even more visitors could be brought into the area.

Imaginative vision needs to be applied to these problems to provide an appropriate new long life for the glorious spacious Dome and to further develop the Greenwich peninsula. Start masterplanning now, time is short!

Richard E Theakston, St Albans, Hertfordshire

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