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Dome developers unfazed by new lottery cash saga

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The design team behind the Dome Europe bid to take over the struggling Millennium Dome has dismissed fears that pressure to close the doors on the visitor attraction early could damage its chances. SMC Group, part of the Dome Europe consortium, is planning to keep the Dome as an amusement park with three quarters of the zones intact, and Stuart McColl, head of SMC Group, dismissed the possibility that the government might now turn to a completely different use to put an end to bad publicity over the attraction.

'This will not have an effect. The Dome is going to be the largest attraction in the UK this year, ' McColl said.

'The government is currently suggesting visitor numbers of between six and seven million, double any other attraction in the UK.We are projecting five million.'

Rival consortium Dome Legacy plans to turn the Greenwich tent into a business park with designs by Lifschutz Davidson.

McColl's comments came as the New Millennium Experience Company chairman, Bob Ayling, was forced to resign as a condition of the Millennium Commission's decision to hand the Dome a £29 million lottery lifeline to keep its attractions running and open.

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