For sale: Second-hand Dome, imaginative bids only please

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BIDS WERE invited yesterday for the Millennium Dome from potential new owners who might want to take it over once celebrations for the year 2000 are over.

English Partnership, which owns the land in east London on which the Dome is built, claims it will last "a generation" before it requires refurbishing. But potential bidders will be told that no taxpayers' money will go towards funding any new use.

Tony Blair, in a foreward to a brochure for potential buyers, says: "I am determined to do all I can to ensure that the Dome stands as an enduring legacy for the future.

"The Government is seeking to select from the private sector an organisation which will match our vision."

Nick Raynsford, whose constituency includes the Dome and who is minister for London, said there would be no more public money to redevelop it - but people were being asked to suggest ideas for new uses.

Mr Raynsford did not say what his pet scheme for the Dome would be, but Tony Banks, the Sports minister, has already suggested it could be converted into an international football stadium to back up England's bid to stage the World Cup in 2006.

Potential buyers should be warned that there are some problems.

Tourists are already getting lost walking to the Dome from historic Greenwich along the Thames Riverside path.

There are plans to improve transport links with a river bus and the extension of the Jubilee line Underground to Canary Wharf.

The Docklands Light Railway network is also being extended across the Thames from Docklands to Greenwich.