The inaugural meeting of the Greenwich Business Club was held at the Trafalgar Tavern on April 17th 1996. Two key players in Greenwich’s successful bid for the Millennium Exhibition were in attendance, Sir Bob Scott, Chairman of the Greenwich Millennium Trust, and Cllr Len Duval, Leader of Greenwich Council. The subject of the meeting was ‘What can business in the Borough gain from the Millennium Exhibition’?
Sir Bob Scott spoke of the hurdles that had to be surmounted before the final decision was taken on the Millennium Exhibition. A viable financial package had to be put together to ensure that the Project could be completed successfully by the 31 December ’99 deadline. A major UK company, with the necessary financial resources, was being sought to spearhead the enterprise and final plans had to be submitted to the Millennium Commission by 15 May 1996.
Sir Bob Scott went on to say that it was absolutely vital that the local community should be involved from the start and that proper lines of communication should be established in order to minimise the amount of disruption and annoyance.
15 May ’96 to 31 December ’99 would be a period of intense development, but the advantage of having an externally imposed timetable was that things just had to be done on time. The project opened up fantastic opportunities, as well as a deal of suffering, but it was necessary to be positive and keep the optimism going.
Cllr Len Duvall was confident of the final outcome. He welcomed the extension of the Jubilee Line and the DLR which would bring much needed relief to the present over-taxed public transport systems. The site to be developed for the Exhibition was the largest in London and although no-one could say at this stage what goods and services would be required, Greenwich Council would encourage the use of local firms and local labour whenever possible. These were exciting times and there was a lot of tough negotiating to be done, but he assured the meeting that he would be “batting for local business”.
The meeting ended with questions from the floor and an air of optimism which it is hoped would be justified on 15 May.
Source: The GUIDE magazine, May 1996, with additions.
Web’d by David Riddle
Last updated: 10/5/96, 11.00pm