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No place like Dome

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It was all so different when the Fourth Grace competition was launched in the heady surroundings of the MIPIM property show in Cannes in 2002.

No less a personage than Bob Scott, responsible for attracting international events to several cities, was on the platform extolling the virtues of the competition to a packed audience. But even then, there was a niggling doubt about the programme for the proposed building: what was it? David Henshaw, then and now the Liverpool chief exec, was buzzing around the mini-exhibition saying how wonderful it was all going to be. Now he makes a very silly comparison with the Millennium Dome (the Fourth Grace is largely funded by private money). But he was right in one respect: no one knew what would occupy the Dome, and no one knew who would end up occupying the Fourth Grace. But whose fault is that? Well, if Henshaw is taking the credit for scrapping the scheme, he must take the blame for having set up a meaningless competition in the first place. Some might regard that as a resigning matter.

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