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'Taken as a whole, it looks as though it has been planned by a bunch of surrealists during a night on the drink . . . It will be a kind of raucous theme park but without the deadly uniformity that is the most pernicious quality of theme parks. Given a few decades, it might even acquire some semblance of order.' Rowan Moore on London South Bank's 'Millennium Mile'. Evening Standard, 25.8.98

'Some would argue that this is a secular age more interested in the Teletubbies than the Trinity, so an avowedly materialistic Dome is entirely appropriate . . . The confusion over how to deal with religion reflects a wider failure to encapsulate or explain what the millennium experience should be and how it justifies expenditure of £800m. Perhaps Christ is well out of it.' A leader in the Guardian on the failure to find Spirit Zone sponsorship, 21.8.98

'Isn't there anybody with an eye or brain who might be consulted by the diocese of London? The point is that there are plenty of City churches which were so vulgarly 'restored' after the Second World War that they are but travesties. You could make St Mary-le-Bow, say, into a burger bar and I would not raise a scintilla of protest. But St Mary Abchurch is another matter.' 'Piloti', alarmed at plans to turn Wren's 'musty, magic interior' into a study and exhibition centre. Private Eye, 21.8.98

'I would do this for any of my friends and customers who said they were in a bit of a hurry.' Sir Terence Conran on opening The Conran Shop after- hours so that Peter Mandelson could go shopping. Evening Standard, 26.8.98

vital statistics

Marks & Spencer is set to launch its biggest London store - nearly 20,000m2 in the £400 million scheme designed by Benoy for developer Chelsfield at White City, which will include new mainline and underground stations at Shepherd's Bush.

New and newly refurbished office space in central London is still in short supply, says property consultant dtz Debenham Thorpe. Its latest report says take-up this year will exceed 1997, even though pre-let figures are down. About 1,000,000m2 of space was available at the end of June, suggesting a vacancy rate of about 5 per cent.

House prices fell in July, the first time for 20 months, says the rics. Only 16 per cent of members reported an increase in July, the lowest figure for two years.

pfi deals totalling £1.65 billion have been signed this year, well up on 1997. The latest batch, of 15 local-government projects, was signed last week.

Derek Lovejoy Partnership is to masterplan and landscape the new £200 million Edinburgh Royal Infirmary - which on completion in 2002 will be the city's biggest building.

Londoners are subsidising the rest of the country by £2000 per head, says the National Institute for Economic Research. A study for the London Chamber of Commerce says £2 billion of the £14 billion 'outflow' could be spent on infrastructure for the capital, creating 25,000 jobs.

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