Second-hand Dome

Welcome to the Flog-it-off-Cheap Zone. The £105m that the Japanese bank Nomura has spent buying the Millennium Dome at Greenwich sounds like a good deal of money. It is. But it looks a little less impressive next to the £800m or so of public lottery money that was poured into the project that was supposed, in the gushing words of Peter Mandelson, the absentee father of the Dome, to "blow your socks off". Instead, we now know that it has merely blown a dirty great hole in the coffers.

Welcome to the Flog-it-off-Cheap Zone. The £105m that the Japanese bank Nomura has spent buying the Millennium Dome at Greenwich sounds like a good deal of money. It is. But it looks a little less impressive next to the £800m or so of public lottery money that was poured into the project that was supposed, in the gushing words of Peter Mandelson, the absentee father of the Dome, to "blow your socks off". Instead, we now know that it has merely blown a dirty great hole in the coffers.

But perhaps we are being churlish. The Dome has, indeed, brought regeneration to a neglected corner of London. Now Nomura plans to turn the site into a premier "urban resort", with some of the zones retained and the worthiness expunged. No longer will visitors feel that they are on a journey round the mind of Mr Mandelson. It may thrive.

But the abiding feeling remains that we have sold off not so much the family silver but the national Tupperware.

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