Dorrell lines up contenders for millennium cash

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Plans to mark the millennium were unveiled yesterday by Stephen Dorrell, the Secretary of State for National Heritage. He announced that 83 applications had been selected by the Millennium Commission for "detailed appraisal" to decide which will be worthy of grants.

The schemes selected for the consideration by the Millennium Fund were whittled down from 550 full applications. They range from big architectural projects to more modest proposals such as tree planting.

The most ambitious project seeking commission funds is a national bicycle network comprising 5,000 miles of traffic-free walkways and cycle paths. It would be within two-miles' access of 20 million people - more than a third of the population. The total capital cost is put at pounds 172m.

Other schemes with nation-wide appeal include a programme of church floodlighting and plans to provide village halls in deprived urban areas.

Local proposals to have caught the eye include the Peterborough Green Wheel, a proposed pounds 12.5m landscaped ring around the city.

A project called The Renaissance of Portsmouth Harbour sets out a pounds 113m development of the waterfronts of Ports-mouth and Gosport. Bristol 2000 is a pounds 65m waterside development including an "electronic zoo".

Birmingham City Council has put forward a scheme for the Digbeth Millennium Campus - a high technology campus-style "hub" in the city centre providing interest-led learning opportunities, at a cost of pounds 111m.

Belfast 2000 proposes environmental landscape improvements costing pounds 12.5m and the Glasgow Development Agency has an pounds 88m scheme to redevelop the derelict quay area into a National Science Centre.

The biggest proposals in Wales outline plans for a pounds 100m Millenium Stadium - a redevelopment of Cardiff Arms Park - and an pounds 86m Cardiff Bay Opera House.

In London the major plans short-listed include a pounds 106m gallery for the Tate Gallery on the site of the Bankside power station, a pounds 60m public square within the British Museum, and a pounds 47m Millenium Seed Bank at Kew Gardens.