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A Millennium miss

THE visionaries and dreamers devising landmark buildings and other expensive projects to celebrate the Millennium don't actually need to bother about the year 2000, the Millennium Commission has ruled, writes Catherine Pepinster.

If an art gallery here or a opera house there ends up with its last coat of paint being applied well into the 21st century, the Commissioners will still be happy. Insistence on meeting a year 2000 deadline is "pedantic" according to a spokesman.

The Commission's laid-back attitude has surprised some of the developers bidding for funds, who are used to clients demanding tight deadlines. They warn that some celebration parties may have to be held in the middle of building sites.

Peter Rogers, director of developer Stanhope, which is advising the Tate Gallery on its new Bankside building, said: "They have told us they don't see the Millennium as being critical. But if it is supposed to be special and dramatic then surely the projects should all be ready by the year 2000? The implication seems to be 2002 or 2003 will be OK. There may be a logic to this, but it's not a perception that will be accepted by the public."