Design: Take a look at Britain's new tourist traps

Will Millennium fever and lottery funding turn our country into a giant theme park?

Forget the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, Churchill's grave and the pump room in Bath. Britain's traditional tourist attractions are about to be replaced by a solar-powered visitor centre in a disused colliery in Doncaster, a shopping centre with a 152-foot tower at Portsmouth Harbour, a Ferris Wheel in London and a flotation tank at Bath Spa.

At least, that's what Chris Smith, the Minister for Culture, Media and Sport and the British Tourist Authority have in mind as they present tourist attractions for 2000 at a press reception in Paris. Now that the BTA forecasts as many as 28.3 million visitors to Britain during 2000, spending around pounds 14.5bn, modern architecture is a national asset.

Last night, under the avuncular gaze of Chris Smith, the Ambassador Sir Michael Jay and his wife Sylvia hosted a party at the Paris Embassy - no vol-au-vents, Lady Jay only serves British food, even soft cheeses flown in freshly - to promote new British architecture abroad.

Scale models and computer images of nine projects around the country funded by lottery money - the tenth is the British Airways-sponsored Ferris wheel in London - introduced the French media and travel trade to visitor attractions.

The French already know how good our British architects are. After all, they gave them work in the lean Eighties as part of their public funded "grandes projets", but when they holiday in London, Buckingham Palace and the Beefeaters are the biggest attractions, not modern buildings. That's because there aren't many of them. When the rest of Europe invested in public funded grand projects, Britain preserved its 19th century buildings from the civic minded Victorians.

John Major's vision to free lottery money for cultural projects changed all that. For the first time ever, there is a building programme throughout Britain to mark the Millennium, "a period of renaissance and improvement," chirrups the British Tourist Authority.

"Britain is set to transform its cultural landscape with a multi-billion pound programme to redevelop, upgrade, and create brand new arts, science and leisure centres all over the country," the BTA chairman David Quarmby reveals. Yes, but not all of them are going to be tourist attractions, and a great many of them are not going to get off the ground.

The "transformer of our cultural landscape", Chris Smith, as chairman of the Millennium Commission, knows only too well the difficulties that lottery funded projects drag with them. The sell-by date for a start. Several Millennium Commission lottery-funded projects which already have their opening dates extended to the year 2001 still haven't broken ground: the Eden project for micro and macro climates in Cornwall has only just purchased the land.

Matched funding is a challenge that a lot of schemes simply won't be able to meet, and downsizing ambitious ideas - or making them more attractive to sponsors - has disastrous results. Below is a guide to the projects and their chances.

The Dome at Greenwich

Total cost: pounds 758m. pounds 399m from the Millennium Commission, pounds 150m from sponsors, pounds 194m ticket sales, pounds 15m disposable income. Opening: 31 December 1999. Promises: Fantastic day out. Problems: Air conditioning to produce 2,000 times more HFCs than CO2 system.

The Tate at Bankside

Total cost: pounds 130m. pounds 50m from the Millennium Commission, still about pounds 60m to raise. Opening: May 2000. Promises: Awesome building and curatorship, in harmony with the architecture by de Meuron and Hertzog. Problems: Downsizing meant no glass lift in the tower.

Millennium Bridge

Total cost: pounds 14m. pounds 7.2m Millennium Commission grant. Opening: April 2000. Promises: a 300m footbridge from St Paul's to the Tate at Bankside by Norman Foster. Problems: Anthony Caro's sculptural ramps got dumped. Escalating costs, from pounds 10m.

British Airways' London Eye

Total cost: pounds 31m. Sponsored by British Airways and run by Madame Tussauds. Opening: Spring 2000. Promises: the ferris wheel is the fourth largest construction in London, with 32 capsules made in France each carrying 25 passengers.

Problems: No lottery funding awarded.

Portsmouth Harbour

Total cost: pounds 85.7m, with pounds 40m from the Millennium Commission. Opening: October 2000, but still needs planning permission. Promises: 165-metre/ 500-foot tower by Henry Greentree in a shopping centre. Problems: Plans to drop the landmark tower have been thwarted.

Bath Spa

Total cost: pounds 13.5m. pounds 6.7m from Millennium Commission. Opens: October 2000. Promises: a glass bathhouse linking four historic sites by Nick Grimshaw taps into hot springs. Problems: no contract signed yet, so the proposed opening date seems unlikely.

Earth Centre, Doncaster

Total cost: pounds 100m. pounds 50m from the Millennium Commission. Opening: April 1999. Promises: earnest but unexciting ecological visitor centre in a disused colliery. Problems: sourcing `green' products and the final-phase Ark, by Future Systems, has been put on hold indefinitely.

Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh

Total cost pounds 33.4m. Millennium Commission grant, pounds 15.65m. Opening: April 1999.

Promises: Feel the earth move in a Mini-dome by Michael Hopkins. Problems: Some jealousy from other lottery-funded applicants who see Scotland getting EU-matched funding easily.

Cardiff Bay Millennium Centre, Wales

Total cost: pounds 90.4m. pounds 27m from the Millennium Commission. Opening: June 2001. Promises: the Welsh in full voice in a new home for the National Opera by Percy Thomas Partnerships. Problems: Controversial successor to Zaha Hadid's opera house.

Botanic Gardens, Middleton, Wales

Total cost: pounds 43.3m,. pounds 21.7m from the Millennium Commission. Opening: April 2000. Promises: Hothouse based on Joseph Paxton's original design, by Norman Foster, nurturing ideas from the deputy director of Kew Gardens. Problems: Still in search of some funding.

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules

Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'

Arts and Entertainment
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>

Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Panic! In The Disco's Brendon Urie performs on stage

Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game

Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Radio 4's Today programme host Evan Davis has been announced as the new face of Newsnight

Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams performing on the Main Stage at the Wireless Festival in Finsbury Park, north London

Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Mathison returns to the field in the fourth season of Showtime's Homeland

Arts and Entertainment
Crowds soak up the atmosphere at Latitude Festival

Arts and Entertainment
Meyne Wyatt and Caren Pistorus arrive for the AACTA Aawrds in Sydney, Australia

Arts and Entertainment
Rick Astley's original music video for 'Never Gonna Give You Up' has been removed from YouTube

Arts and Entertainment
Quentin Blake's 'Artists on the beach'

Artists unveils new exhibition inspired by Hastings beach

Arts and Entertainment
MusicFans were left disappointed after technical issues
Arts and Entertainment
'Girl with a Pearl Earring' by Johannes Vermeer, c. 1665
artWhat is it about the period that so enthrals novelists?
Arts and Entertainment
Into the woods: The Merry Wives of Windsor at Petersfield
theatreOpen-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Arts and Entertainment
James singer Tim Booth
latitude 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Lee says: 'I never, ever set out to offend, but it can be an accidental by-product'
Arts and Entertainment
tvThe judges were wowed by the actress' individual cooking style
Arts and Entertainment
Nicholas says that he still feels lucky to be able to do what he loves, but that there is much about being in a band he hates
musicThere is much about being in a band that he hates, but his debut album is suffused with regret
Arts and Entertainment
The singer, who herself is openly bisexual, praised the 19-year-old sportsman before launching into a tirade about the upcoming Winter Olympics

Arts and Entertainment
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

    Screwing your way to the top?

    Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
    Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

    Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

    Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

    The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

    Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
    US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

    Meet the US Army's shooting star

    Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
    Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

    Take a good look while you can

    How climate change could wipe out this seal
    Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

    Farewell, my lovely

    Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
    Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

    Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

    Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
    Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

    Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

    John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
    Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

    Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

    A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
    Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

    Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

    The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
    The 10 best pedicure products

    Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

    Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

    Commonwealth Games 2014

    Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
    Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

    Jack Pitt-Brooke

    Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
    How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

    How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

    Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game