Second Meeting, 13/2/02
This second meeting of this Forum was addressed by Lord Falconer and by representatives of Meridian Delta Ltd..
Lord Falconer was unable to say much more than was already publicly known about the time-scale for the proposed take-over of the Dome by the Meridian Delta Ltd. consortium. Exchange of contracts was still on schedule for early May, with a ‘completion’ date soon after. At this time, all matters relating to the Dome would be handled by the Consortium and English Partnerships as the land-owner. In response to a question from the floor, Lord Falconer stated that following signature, Government would take no further involvement in the matter, and any future change of Government would have no impact on the development since everything would then fall within a standard, formal business contract. There would also be no attempt to recoup losses experienced by the MEX.
Meridian Delta Ltd were represented by Lend Lease, Quintain Properties, and by Anschutz Entertainment, the proposed Dome ‘operator’. Anschutz currently run the Staples Centre in Los Angeles, which was last year voted the best performance arena in the world. They plan is to build a similar 20,000 seat state-of-the-art multi-purpose sports and entertainment arena within the Dome itself, supported by ancilliary facilities including catering, etc.. The proposal is currently to hold around 150 events per year, 40-50 at the maximum capacity, a further 40-50 at a capacity of around 7,500, with the rest having varying degrees of occupancy. Anschutz currently own the Docklands Arena, but were reported (19/1/02) to be about to sell this and move all events including the London Knights Ice Hockey team to the Dome when it is complete.
In addition to the Dome development itself, a further 189 acres of land currently owned by English Partnerships is to be developed by the Consortium.This will result overall in a total investment in the Peninsula over a 20-year period of an estimated £4 billion, with a further £200 million being spent on the Dome itself.
Chris Roberts, Leader of Greenwich Council, also spoke in a very similar vein to the previous meeting. He repeated the desire for high quality buildings, appropriate employment and education opportunities, especially for the non-academic disaffected youth of Greenwich Borough, as well as an absolute requirement to provide ‘key-worker’ housing that would be occupied by Greenwich Borough employees as opposed to those servicing Canary Wharf and all stations along the Jubilee Line.
TfL provided a report on the latest transport initiatives for the area. Again, nothing concrete was reported in terms of new services and there was simply a repetition of the dates for decisions over the four proposed Rapid Transit Links in London and the East London River Crossing area with a re-iteration of the fact that a third Blackwall crossing was the Mayor’s least-favoured option. For the first time in the evening, speakers from the floor voiced dissent at the lack of action to address issues relating to the lack of a bus service from Greenwich Town Centre to the Peninsula Sainsbury’s, FilmWorks. Additionally, Clive Efford, MP for Eltham spoke vigorously for action on a decent service from Eltham Town Centre to North Greenwich Station, a journey which currently takes 45 minutes by existing services.
Last updated, February 11th, 2002
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